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A COLLEGE COURTSHIP 

AND 

OTHER STORIES 



BY 



Mrs. Charles Teny Collins 



CAMBRIDGE 

Printed at The Riverside Press 

1915 



COPYRIGHT, 1899 AND I9OO, BY THE CURTIS PUBLISHING COMPANY 
COPYRIGHT, 1904, BY HARPER AND BROTHERS 



^n a^emoriam 

These three stories have been selected 
from the writings of Mrs. Charles Terry 
Collins and are published by her children 
in loving appreciation of a life of self- 
sacrifice and devotion to them. When 
her oldest child was ten years of age her 
husband died, and although handicapped 
by ill-health and limited means she cour- 
ageously assumed the responsibility of 
giving her four children the thorough 
training and education which accorded 
with her highest ideals. Her charm and 
sweetness of character speak more for 
themselves in her writings than could be 
expressed by another's pen. 



BIOGRAPHICAL SKETCH 

Mary Abby Wood was born May 13, 1852, 
at Baldwinsville, Massachusetts. She was the 
daughter of Moses Hill Wood and Abby Saw- 
yer Wesson. Her early life was spent in 
Pittsfield, Massachusetts. Later she attended 
Abbott Academy in Andover, Massachusetts, 
where she met Charles Terry Collins, then a 
student at the Andover Theological Seminary. 
They were married in Pittsfield on December 
26, 1872. The first year of their married life was 
spent in New York City, where Mr. Collins 
was pastor of a Mission Church. In 1874 ^^ 
received a call to Plymouth Church, Cleve- 
land, Ohio, where he remained until his death 
December 21, 1883, leaving a lasting memory 
of devotion, not only to his church, but to 
all of the best civic movements. In order to 
be near her husband's family, Mrs. Collins 
then moved to Yonkers, New York, with 
her four children, Charles, Clarence Ly- 
man, Mary Terry, and Arthur Morris. The 



viii BIOGRAPHICAL SKETCH 

years 1889-91 were spent in Germany. In 
1893, when the two oldest boys were at Yale 
University, the family settled in New Haven. 
After her sons' graduation she spent most of 
her time with her son Charles in Boston and 
Paris. Later she lived with her younger chil- 
dren in Niagara Falls, where her son Clar- 
ence was in business. When her three sons 
had married she and her daughter Mary made 
their home in New York, California, and 
Cleveland. She died in the latter city on Jan- 
uary 23, 1914, after a brief illness. 



In 1905 Mrs. Collins' children by mu- 
tual consent resumed the spelling of 
their name as it appears in the ear- 
lier Colonial records of the family — 
Collens. 



CONTENTS 

A College Courtship i 

The Parson's Butterfly 95 

Monsieur le Beb£ 199 



A COLLEGE COURTSHIP 



A COLLEGE COURTSHIP 

CHAPTER I 

IT 'S Sunday afternoon. I was going to take 
a nap, but William's room is right over 
mine, and there are as many as six of his 
football friends knocking around up there. I 
should judge from the sound it was secret 
practice they were having, but, of course, 
seeing it's Sunday, it could n't be. 

William's bodily size has been a stumbling- 
block to him right straight along. He 's six 
feet two inches and seven eighths now, in his 
winter stockings, and broad accordingly. The 
trouble commenced with a wrestling match, 
wherein he overpowered a sophomore, in his 
freshman year, and things have been going 
on from bad to worse ever since, till now, 
from what I hear, I should judge he was con- 
spicuous on the team. 

It doesn't seem any way possible that it's 
two years and over since William came to 



4 A COLLEGE COURTSHIP 

college, and his mother and his grandfather 
and I came along with him. It was to pro- 
tect him from the evil that 's in the world that 
we came along. I should n't ever forget the 
night he came home and told us at the dinner- 
table that he 'd been taken on to the freshman 
team, and that everybody said he was dead 
certain of the 'Varsity. He was perfectly wild 
over it — quite a little wilder than he was 
that time they took him into a sophomore 
society, though he was considerably worked 
up over that, too. 

I did feel simply terribly about the football 
business. I knew it was going to take the 
whole of his time that, if he was going to be 
a minister, he needed every bit of, for the 
dead languages. If there 's one thing, accord- 
ing to my mind, that 's perfectly indispensa- 
ble to a minister, next to his being properly 
pious, it's impunity in the dead languages, 
and how William was going to get it and 
play football into the bargain was more than 
I could see. 

I took him apart after dinner that night and 
asked him what he really thought he 'd come 



A COLLEGE COURTSHIP 5 

to college for, and if he thought his mother 
and his grandfather and Thomas a Kempis 
and I had come all the way down from where 
we 'd come from, and been through all we 'd 
been through, — disposing of the farm, for the 
time being, the way we had, and hunting up 
a furnished house down here the size of a 
barn, and taking in half a dozen freshmen to 
make ends meet, and sending up home for 
Libby Hanks to come down and do the cook- 
ing, to say nothing of lugging Thomas a 
Kempis all the way down in a basket, and 
he as big as a dog, — just for him to play foot- 
ball. 

It was n't as though it ran in the family to 
take boarders, I told him. Not that any of 
our ancestors felt above it so far as I knew, 
but, being governors and generals the way so 
many of them were, they had n't any call to. 

I asked him, too, if he 'd really considered 
— so he took it in in its length and breadth — 
what it would be to be a cripple for life. 
When he got to be gray-headed, I told him, 
and was going around with a broken leg or a 
glass eye, he could n't wear a placard such 



6 A COLLEGE COURTSHIP 

as blind beggars do to let the public know he 
was on the 'Varsity football team and that 
was how he came to be such a sight. He 'd 
just have to pass for a common^ uninteresting 
cripple^ I told him. I asked him if he thought 
it was really worth while. He did n't think 
he should get hurt, he said. It was just 
" muckers " that did n't understand the thing 
that got hurt. I knew better, for I went to a 
game with his grandfather, up at home, once. 
It was the boys in our village, William among 
them, played the boys from Barrett, all of 
them as nice, respectable, well-meaning youths 
as need be — not a " mucker " among them. 
But they got William down in the mud. Wil- 
liam had taken the ball and was trying to 
keep it all to himself. That was where Wil- 
liam was to blame. I told him afterward when 
a game like that was going on it ought to be 
share and- share alike. He ought to have given 
up that ball when he saw the others wanted 
it so bad. Well, he did n't, and he got well 
paid for it. They all fell over on top of him. 
I was there to see it. The impress of Wil- 
liam's form was left on the ground, showing 



A COLLEGE COURTSHIP 7 

plainly that if there had n't been a recent spell 
of rain to soften the earth so it had yielded, 
instead of William having been obliged to 
yield, when the two came together, every 
bone in his body would have been broken. 

I thought just now there was a landslide 
out on the front stairs. It was n't anything, 
though, but William and those football friends 
of his tearing off together somewhere — to one 
of the dormitories, I presume. It seems to me 
William pretty nearly lives over there, any- 
way. I must get my nap now they 're gone, 
whether or no, for I went to college chapel 
this morning, and I had such a wearing, un- 
satisfactory kind of a time that I 'm all worn 
out. It was n't the President preached. Some- 
body said it was a member of the Corpora- 
tion. I could n't say for certain. Whoever he 
was he gave me the idea he needed winding 
up. I should say he gave the boys the same 
idea, for they were terribly restless all around. 
I could n't have heard much, even if there 'd 
been much to hear, so I abandoned myself to 
my own reflections, the way I most generally 
do when I find there 's nothing to hope for 



8 A COLLEGE COURTSHIP 

from the pulpit. I got to wandering off into 
William's future. I do want to see William 
engaged to be married before he leaves col- 
lege. He 's considerably young now, of course, 
and I would n't want to see him really settled 
down till he was through his studying. I would 
like, though, to see him pick out a real supe- 
rior, pious girl down here, where there 's so 
much better assortment than there is up at 
home. I 've got my eye on the graduate stu- 
dents — "co-eds " I heard William calling them 
one day, but I reproved him severely. I asked 
him how, if he'd had a sister, and she'd been 
clever enough to come to college along with 
the men, he 'd like to have had epithets like 
that fastened on to her. William said if he 'd 
had a sister come here he should have stayed 
at home himself. I could see from the start 
William did n't seem drawn to the " co-eds." 
All the same, I made up my mind I was going 
ahead and going to consult his own best good 
in the matter. I was going to have a nice 
roomy house where I could invite those girls 
in to tea and to spend the evening just as often 
as I wanted to. I was going to get William 



A COLLEGE COURTSHIP 9 

accustomed to them, and some day when he 
had a nice little parsonage of his own, and one 
of those first-class, higher-education girls in it 
for a wife, he 'd rise up and thank me for it. 
It did n't seem to ine, as I sat there in chapel 
thinking it over, as though I 'd made much 
headway as yet getting him accustomed. 

I think one reason I could n't pay any better 
attention to the sermon this morning was be- 
cause I was so exercised in my mind over a 
row of uncommonly pretty girls from out of 
town that were occupying the front row of the 
gallery right in plain sight of all that church- 
ful of men. They were the kind that William 
calls ^^ Queens," so I should judge. I did feel 
dreadfully sympathetic for them, getting stared 
at the way they did. Of course, they would n't 
have sat there if there 'd been any other place 
they could have squeezed into. There was one 
that was especially pretty. She had light- 
colored hair with big waves in it. It did n't 
look, from where I sat, as though she did it 
up in curl-papers. It looked as though it were 
rippling all over creation just for the fun of it. 
And she had great dark eyes; I couldn't see 



lo A COLLEGE COURTSHIP 

what color they were so far off, but William 
says they were gray, and he ought to know, 
for I remember him twisting around fully as 
much as the rest of them to keep her in sight. 
And she had a wide black hat, with prancing 
plumes, on the back of her head. I could n't 
keep from often looking at her myself, but 
then I was properly situated for doing so and 
William was not. 

I interviewed William after dinner this 
noon, and I told him very plainly just what I 
thought of such light-minded doings as I 'd 
seen in the Lord's house that morning, es- 
pecially of his having joined in with the 
others to look a pretty, modest-appearing girl 
out of countenance. That would n't have been 
proper in a theater or anywhere else, I told 
him. As soon as he found out that such a 
pretty young thing as that was placed in such 
an embarrassing position he ought to have 
looked the other way. 

William said he 'd been staring at her just 
out of kindness. She knew him quite well, he 
said, seeing as her brother was his most par- 
ticular football friend. He thought, he said, if 



A COLLEGE COURTSHIP ii 

she saw a familiar upturned face among the 
rest maybe it would be a comfort to her. 

William went on to say (it always was 
William's method, from a child up, to get my 
mind off on to something that he considered 
amusing as quickly as possible when I was 
bent on dealing painfully with him) that a 
godless youth — William did n't say he was 
godless, but of course he was or he would n't 
have done it — brought a snake into chapel, 
a little one, the other day, and let it out in the 
aisle, and it glided up and down the matting 
like lightning because the matting tickled its 
stomach, and it kept thinking it could get 
ahead of the tickle if it only went fast enough. 
William seemed to feel more than a little 
amused by it; but I was n't a mite. I was 
pained. 



I 



CHAPTER II 

WENT to the " Prom/' last night, and it 
was so protracted that I 'm pretty nearly 
as much in need of a nap as I was after I went 
to chapel that time in the fall. It's a big, over- 
grown ball, the " Prom." is, that only comes 
once a year, and there is n't any sensible- 
minded adult would wish to have it come 
any oftener, for all the young folks might feel 
differently. It 's got the upper hand here so 
that you even hear people talking about the 
President's ^^Prom. sermon," meaning the one 
he delivers himself of on the Sunday all the 
girls from out of town are here with their 
caretakers waiting for the ball to begin. 

Anne, William's mother, prodded and poked 
and pushed to get Amos and me to go, till 
finally, just to get rid of her teasing and Wil- 
liam's, we said we would, seeing as it v/as 
William's junior year. I could n't feel just 
easy in my mind at first about going. To this 
day, when dancing 's in the question, I can't 



A COLLEGE COURTSHIP 13 

get over a tract old Parson Hopkins gave me 
away back when I was a girl. It was just be- 
fore I was going off down to the city that time 
to visit mother's relations. They were consid- 
erably world-minded, to be sure, but I never 
could see as they were laying in wait for 
my immortal soul the way Parson Hopkins 
seemed to think they were. 

It was about a young girl that sinned against 
her conscience and went to a big ball, and fell 
down right in the middle of the floor while 
she was dancing, and they picked her up and 
laid her out on the refreshment table, there 
not being any other place handy, and she died 
right then and there with the gay throng all 
standing about looking on while she did it. 
It made a most awful impression on me, that 
tract did. I did n't go near the city, I was so 
scared. It was n't so much that I minded 
dying, but I did n't want to die right in among 
the refreshments that way. I would n't wonder 
if I had that tract somewhere at home now 
among my things. It would take considerable 
more than that to scare young folks nowada3^s, 
I 'm thinking. 



14 A COLLEGE COURTSHIP 

There are a number of inclosures built up 
around the edge of the ballroom at the 
"Prom./' for the lookers-on to sit down in, 
out of the way, so that they won't get under 
foot and get stepped on. 

William's particular football friend's father 
and mother had sent up from New York and 
had the pick of these inclosures saved for them. 
They were coming up and going to bring 
their daughter, the girl that William stared at 
up in the front row of the back gallery that 
time, and nothing would do but that Amos, 
Anne, and I must come and sit with them in 
the inclosure. 

It seems their son had told them he con- 
sidered he was under considerable obligation 
to us, though what for mercy only knows — 
I don't. It seems, too, he 'd told them con- 
siderable about us, and they wanted to meet 
us. I was dreadfully sorry, but I could n't seem 
to get up any enthusiasm about meeting them. 
Somehow, from all I 'd heard, I judged they 
were dreadfully high-minded and fashionable. 
I suspect, come down to the real truth of the 
matter, it was because I had n't anything to 



A COLLEGE COURTSHIP 15 

wear. I told Anne, come to get me into such 
close quarters with a woman like that, — she 
all dressed up and I not, — I could n't hold my 
own, I knew I could n't, for all we 'd come 
right down in a straight line from a governor; 
I should forget it for the time being. 

Anne said she 'd engage to fix me up so I 
should hold my own with the Queen, if she 
happened to be there. She sent up home for 
that black velvet that grandmother wore once 
at a wedding along the last years of her life. 
Grandfather said, so I We heard, that she should 
have something suitable to go in even if he 
mortgaged the farm to get it for her, which 
he did n't, of course. She told them to send 
that old, yellow lace of great-grandmother's, 
too. It's been lying, along with the black vel- 
vet, up on the top shelf of the spare-room 
closet I don't know for how long. I supposed, 
of course, Anne would have the dress all 
slashed and cut up to make it fashionable, and 
I felt sort of bad about it. I 'd always thought 
maybe William's daughters would like it for 
something to keep to look at. Anne did n't, 
though. She said grandmother having worn 



1 6 A COLLEGE COURTSHIP 

it so late in life it was perfectly suitable to my 
years. What was more, she said, old-fash- 
ioned things were all the rage. It would set 
me off, she said, a great deal better than any- 
thing new I could get, no matter what I paid 
for it. 

Talk about setting me off, I 'm afraid it 's 
just lack of a chance, and not extra goodness, 
the way I always supposed it was, that has 
kept me from being as fond of dress and vain 
show as the most of women. I declare for it, 
when I came to see myself dressed up in that 
handsome gown, with that lace put on to me 
the way there is n't anybod}^ but Anne knows 
how to put things on, and my hair done up 
in a fleecy sort of a way on the top of my 
head, instead of being drawn back plain into 
a twist, the way I Ve been used to wearing 
it, I did n't know myself. 

Amos and William and the boarder-boys 
and Libby Hanks all stood around admiring 
and exclaiming while Anne was putting on 
the finishing touches. Thomas a Kempis was 
there, too, sitting on top of the pincushion, 
superintending matters the way he always 



A COLLEGE COURTSHIP 17 

doeSj and I could tell just by the way his fur 
lay that he was satisfied. 

He 's a mortally strange cat, anyhow, 
Thomas is. When he does n't like a thing he 
won't wash himself — not till he gets what 
he wants. He did n't like boarding. It was 
on his account, almost as much as it was on 
William's, that we went to housekeeping 
down here. 

When I saw him sitting around, never 
once giving himself so much as a lick, and 
his fur getting rougher and scragglier and 
dirtier-looking every minute, till he might as 
well be an ashman's cat, I just knew he was 
n't ever going to make himself at home in a 
boarding-house, and that was the way he 'd 
employed of telling me so. I reasoned with 
him, but it did n't do a grain of good. 

^^ Thomas a Kempis," I said, "you aren't 
worthy to be the namesake of the man you 
are if you can't keep yourself cleaner. Thomas 
a Kempis was n't an)^ of your sniffling, dirty 
anchorites. He was a gentlemanly saint, that 
washed his face and combed his hair daily, 
and I expect you to do the same." 



1 8 A COLLEGE COURTSHIP 

It did n't move him a particle^ though, what 
I said. It was n't till he and Libby Hanks 
had supper together again by the kitchen fire, 
the way they used to up at home, that he sat 
down and washed himself all over as clean 
as a whistle. He ought to have had principle 
enough to keep himself clean no matter how 
he felt, and I told him so. Amos says he 's 
glad Thomas wears full whiskers, for if he 
did n't we should have him sitting around 
half-shaved every time he got put out about 
anything. 

William's friend's mother was n't dressed 
as much as I 'd anticipated, after all. She 
was wonderfully clever and kind, and so were 
all the others that were running in and out of 
the inclosure. They said, some of them, that 
they did n't think it was just fair for an old 
lady to come to a young people's ball and 
take up all the attention. They were just say- 
ing it to make me feel comfortable, of course, 
not counting on my seeing through it. Wil- 
liam's friend's sister, though, really did seem 
to take a liking to me. Whenever she had a 
chance — and that was n't often, being on her 



A COLLEGE COURTSHIP 19 

feet so all the time, the way she was — she 
would come and sit down in a chair there was 
left for her next to mine, and talk a steady 
stream to me, watching all the while out of 
the corner of her pretty, saucy eyes about a 
dozen young men that were rambling around 
outside the inclosure waiting for the chance 
to get in a word with her. She was so un- 
earthly looking in her gauzy white gown that 
if it had n't been for that twinkle in her eye I 
should have felt every time she came and sat 
down by me as though I 'd been visited by 
angels. 

I don't know, come to think of it, as I ever 
saw a picture of an angel anywhere that gave 
you the least reason to suppose they'd any 
sense of humor. Maybe it 's dry wit they Ve 
got. 

It seems, so William's friend's mother was 
telling me, that her daughter was going to wear 
some wonderful kind of a gown that she 'd 
bought for her in Paris. I judged from what 
she said it was calculated to make a great im- 
pression, but just at the last minute, up at the 
hotel, she 'd upset a whole bottle of ink all 



20 A COLLEGE COURTSHIP 

down the front breadth. It was too bad ! They 
could n't do anything about it, because there 
was n't anything to be done. She just had to 
wear the white one or stay at home. It almost 
seemed to spoil her mother's enjoyment, but I 
told her mother that I should have been afraid 
a gown like the one she was mentioning might 
have distracted the attention of the company 
from her daughter's face, and that would have 
been almost a pity, it seemed to me. 

William danced with her daughter the bet- 
ter part of his time. It appears they had it 
all set down in writing beforehand who was 
going to dance with who. That 's the plan 
they 've adopted in these days for the abolition 
of wall-flowers, Anne says. I declare for it, I 
wished he would n't along toward the last of 
it. She was just as fresh and dainty-looking as 
she was when she commenced, but William 
— actually, if he 'd been haying he could n't 
have looked worse. The perspiration was run- 
ning off him in streams, and his collar was all 
wilted down, and his shirt front, that Libby 
Hanks had starched till it could have gone 
to the " Prom." alone, was hanging around his 



A COLLEGE COURTSHIP 21 

neck like a wet rag. I don't see what there is 
about the " Prom.'' that opens up the pores so. 

He 'd been to the Glee Club Concert with 
his friend's sister, anyway, the night before, 
and participated in the german with her on 
top of that. It did n't seem to me it was just 
what you might call Christian considerateness 
of William to single out a young woman for 
such a lot of attentions who had a father and 
a brother of her own on the spot to attend to 
her. Seemed as though he really ought to have 
asked somebody who could n't have gone if he 
had n't. I 'd have been willing to have tried 
my hand at chaperoning if he had, and where 
my strength failed Anne could have stepped 
in to help out. 

William said he was mortified for the Uni- 
versity the way the freshmen deported them- 
selves up in their gallery at the concert, dis- 
turbing the exercises the way they did. I told 
him I did n't doubt it a mite, for I was mor- 
tified for it myself the year he was up there. 

After the "Prom." was over, about half- 
past five I should say, or maybe five, we went 
up to William's friend's room to a festivity 



22 A COLLEGE COURTSHIP 

they call a " Dawn Tea/' We had quite a 
time getting there. The cabman was either 
dead with sleep or numbed through from 
waiting for us so long. Whichever it was he 
drove all over the curbstones, and before long 
one of the hind wheels came off. There we 
were, trailing up the main street on three 
wheels at five o'clock in the morning. We 
must have looked dreadfully rakish from the 
outside. I remember wondering — you know 
how in any excitement dreadfully queer things 
will shoot through your mind — what our 
pastor up at home would think I was doing 
if he could see me. William's friend's mother 
and I were sitting on the back seat, and Wil- 
liam and her daughter were sitting on the 
front. Amos and the remainder of the tea- 
party were in several cabs on ahead. It was 
considerably like a funeral procession, and for 
about a minute I was inclined to think it was 
going to be one. It was n't more than a few 
seconds before the horses realized they had 
something considerably out of the common on 
behind, and they started to run. They most 
certainly would have run if some men on the 



A COLLEGE COURTSHIP 23 

sidewalk had n't rushed out and held on to 
their heads. In the mean time William was 
holding on to his friend's sister^ respectfully 
but firmly, so she should n't get pitched 
about and hurt. I was in considerably more 
danger than she was, though, only William 
did n't happen to notice. It was my cor- 
ner there was n't any wheel under. I was 
grating along as best I could, several feet 
lower down than the rest of the party, and 
William's friend's mother was gradually set- 
tling down on top of me. The rest of the tea- 
party had turned around and come back the 
minute they realized what was going on. 
They called another cab as soon as they could 
— they and the folks that had congregated 
did. There we all were at five o'clock in the 
morning with that broken-down thing in the 
middle of us — and as many as four other cabs 
standing around — and two or three dozen 
folks looking on while we made a spectacle 
of ourselves. I made William shake all the 
wheels of the other cab before we got into it, 
to make sure they were properly fastened, and 
then we went on our way. 



24 A COLLEGE COURTSHIP 

After the tea-company was concluded I 
went home and sat down to breakfast in my 
black velvet, and William went to prayers 
in his dress-suit. I M looked to have Wil- 
liam derive considerable spiritual advantages 
from morning prayers down here. Somehow, 
though, his devotional nature does n't seem to 
get under wa}^ at that hour in the morning 
any easier than the rest of him. The seniors 
chase the President down the aisle every 
morning after prayers. " Pushing a good thing 
along/' they call it. Well, I was telling Wil- 
liam that if they would n't hurry the President 
so, if they 'd give him a fair start and let him 
take his time about getting out of chapel, 
maybe he 'd be more inclined to let them take 
theirs about getting in. Maybe he would n't 
be so particular about a minute, more or less, 
and they would n't have to hurry out of bed so. 

I 'm sort of spent from having been up all 
night. That's the worst of such gay doings. 
They impair your subsequent usefulness. 

There was a professor lurking around the 
outskirts of the inclosure all the evening. It 
was the same one that called to see Anne the 



A COLLEGE COURTSHIP 25 

other evening — a nice, sensible-minded kind 
of a man just about Anne's age, I should judge. 
Having met Anne at some tea or dinner (we 
brought letters to some of the nicest people 
here, and Anne has been going out consider- 
ably in consequence) he made bold to drop 
in and confer with her about her son's inter- 
ests. It just shows that William is beginning 
to make his mark. We shall have all the pro- 
fessors in to see us about him before long, I 
expect. 



CHAPTER III . 

MY head is turned this time^ and no mis- 
take. There 's been an artist up from 
New York to call on me. It seems he has to 
paint a picture for the Academy, and he 's 
been hunting and hunting for something to 
paint, and he could n't hit on anything that 
had just suited him till he came to see that 
young girl and me sitting side by side at the 
" Prom.'' dressed up the way we were. Noth- 
ing will do but he must paint us together just 
as we sat, if we will let him. He's going to 
call the finished work some sort of a poetical, 
highfalutin name, " Youth and Old Age," or 
something or other like that. I asked him 
how "Just Started and Almost There " would 
do, but he did n't seem to think that was as 
good as what he had in mind. 

It seems he 's a well-meaning, deserving 
young man with his way to make, so William's 
friend's parents have given their consent. It 
seems foolish for me to hold off. I don't seem 



A COLLEGE COURTSHIP 27 

to want to do it a mite, though. I told him 
I 'd be perfectly willing to lend him the dress 
to put on to anybody else. He could see for 
himself, I told him, now I was in my work- 
ing clothes, it was all in the dress the looks 
were. But he would n't be put ofT, so I sup- 
pose I 've just got to be obliging. Amos and 
Anne and William are all just as tickled as 
they can be. They say it 's a just judgment on 
me, seeing I never would sit for my likeness. 
It 's the truth. If I died to-night there would n't 
be anything left to remember me by but my 
works, such as they are. I suppose I shall see 
considerable of that girl first and last, having 
my picture painted with her that way. William 
says he 'II always be around at the sittings so 
as to see I keep a cheerful front. I don't see 
what I want of him. 

I 've been trying to get one of our boarder- 
boy's dress-suits into some sort of condition 
since the " Prom.," but it 's been an awful job. 
It was covered from end to end with bouillon 
and salad, and it had a transverse tear in the 
seat that was dreadful discouraging at first 
sight. You see, not taking any young woman 



28 A COLLEGE COURTSHIP 

with him to the ^^Prom./' — ^^ going stag,'' as 
they call it, — he had to go upstairs to a sort 
of a lunch-counter for his supper instead of 
having it served to him in the ballroom. 

It was considerable of a scramble up there, 
I should judge. He said he got his supper all 
down his back instead of where he 'd ought 
to. What's more, he stepped into a plate of 
salad that somebody had knocked out of his 
hands, and when he came to go downstairs 
he slipped, and went the whole length in a 
sitting posture. I did n't want his mother to 
see that suit the way it was. She 'd maybe 
think he 'd been in low company. 

I told Anne, when we moved into the house, 
there was just one room we would n't make 
those boarder-boys free of, and that was a big- 
windowed, sunny-feeling sitting-room on the 
second floor. There 'd always been a sitting- 
room on the farm I kept for my own use, and 
I meant to keep this one. Not but that Amos 
and Anne and William would spend the most 
of their time there. They always did get to- 
gether in my room at home. But I could n't 
think of making it public property to all that 



A COLLEGE COURTSHIP 29 

raft of boys. I felt that I must have a retiring 
spot where I could go now and then and col- 
lect my thoughts, and not get swept off my 
feet by the worldly rush of a place like this. 

I might as well have tried to keep the sea 
off the Jersey coast by shooing at it as to have 
tried to keep those boys out of my sitting- 
room. The minute the first stiffness wore off 
they were all over it. They M want to ask me 
something or to tell me something or to show 
me something. Sometimes the only excuse 
they could think of was they just wanted to 
come and have a look at me, though mercy 
knows I 'm nothing to look at. Whatever 
brought them, they were all there whenever 
they were indoors. It got so I did n't think of 
claiming anj^hing for myself but my chair by 
the window and just a place to set my feet on. 
They all call me Gram, the whole six of them, 
from hearing William, and Amos they call 
Grap, just the way William always did. 

Anne went to a dinner-party the night after 
the " Prom.'' I don't see how she kept her 
eyes open. I sent Libby Hanks over to walk 
home with her, and that same professor joined 



30 A COLLEGE COURTSHIP 

himself to their company. That 's the worst of 
a man being without domestic ties at his time 
of life. He never knows when he's under 
foot. I asked Libby if she had gathered from 
their conversation, while she was strolling 
along behind them on their way back home, 
that William was in any new difficulty. Libby 
said she did n't catch William's name at all 
during the journey. 



CHAPTER IV 

IT never does, so far as my observation goes, 
to say up and down that you are n't ever, 
under any circumstances, going to do anyone 
particular thing, for if you do you will be 
made to do it just as sure as fate. Providence 
doesn't like being stumped. I've lived long 
enough to find that out. 

Here I have been saying everything bad I 
could think of against football as a distracting, 
disastrous pastime. Most of all I 've been say- 
ing nothing earthly should ever tempt me to 
give the countenance of my presence to one 
of those football games they have. I 'd just as 
soon — and a little sooner, I kept telling Wil- 
liam — go to a gladiatorial combat and done 
with it, for there you know what to expect 
and here you don't. 

I 've been to one! William's particular 
friend's parents — the same ones we went to 
the " Prom." with last winter — would n't take 
"no" for an answer. They were going to 



32 A COLLEGE COURTSHIP 

have a coach and four. It belonged to them 
and was out and out the handsomest vehicle 
I ever saw. Their daughter^ who 's become 
considerably intimate with me because of the 
picture^ was going along, and as many other 
dreadfully fashionable people as they could 
get on. 

I remarked Anne casting disaffected glances 
at my clothes a few days before the game. I 
was all of a tremble for fear she 'd put me into 
that old black velvet again. I should have 
looked a fool, and no mistake, sitting up on 
top of that coach in broad daylight with that 
thing on. Seems, however, sheM set her mind 
on making " a study in gray" of me from head 
to heels. I set my foot down on it right off, 
though, when I found how expensive " studies '' 
were. Anne said she did n't care, expense or 
no expense; I was going to have a new bon- 
net anyhow, and it was going to be a ^^ crea- 
tion'' in gray with a bunch of violets on it, 
just to make the public remark that the rest 
was gray. It was my old bonnet Anne seemed 
to be out of sorts with. She said she was 
going to consign it to the flames, and she said 



A COLLEGE COURTSHIP 33 

it would n't be a bit more than the woman 
that made it deserved if she were consigned 
along with it. I told her I was convinced that 
Abigail Peters did her best over that bonnet: 
the stitches were all good and firm; it was 
neatly lined, I told her, and the nap of the 
velvet all ran one way. I was sure I did n't 
see why she should rise up against Abigail 
that way, 

I do hate to own up to it, but I got so taken 
up with that game I thought I was going out 
of my senses then and there. I 'm going next 
time, if I have to crawl there on my hands 
and knees. Here I Ve been almost killed with 
anxiety over William, and down there at the 
game I got so I did n't care what happened to 
him so long as our team came out ahead. There 
was one time the rest of them all got down 
on top of him, just the way they did up at 
home, and instead of pitying him I just said 
to myself: "The great fool! what did he let 
them do it for? Just serves him right!" 

I came to my senses, though, when they all 
got up and ran off, and William didn't go 
after them the way he did up there at home. 



34 A COLLEGE COURTSHIP 

He lay out there on the ground^ and did n't 
move hand nor foot. You could see they were 
working over him^ and pretty soon they brought 
a doctor, and then they brought two or three 
of them, and then somebody on the next coach 
said: ^^ That man's done for, I guess. He won't 
ever play football any more/' 

First I knew that pretty girl reached over 
and gripped my hand so that I should have 
screamed if it had been any other time, and I 
looked around and she was just as white as 
chalk, and the most piteous look in her eyes 
you ever saw. And Amos was looking as pale 
as a corpse, and a good deal more scared. If 
he should look as scared after he was gone 
as he did then I should be concerned for his 
final state. And Anne was gripping the seat 
and looking brave, the way she always does 
when things are at their worst. It did n't last 
long, though. They were helping William up 
in about five minutes. They said 'twas just 
that the breath had been knocked out of him 
more than was customary even under the cir- 
cumstances. It was n't long before he was 
right in the thick of it again, just as if nothing 
had happened. 



A COLLEGE COURTSHIP 3S 

Pretty soon he made some sort of a play — 
I 'd have to get Amos to tell just what it was 
— I don't know how to go to work to describe 
it. All I know is he was instrumental in get- 
ting the ball over some place where they 'd 
been working a long while to get it^ and the 
whole great crowd of people rose up on to 
their feet and cheered and hollered, and hol- 
lered and cheered, and waved their flags, and 
I just took hold of one of my bonnet strings 
and gave it a jerk, so it untied and the bon- 
net flew off, and then I swung it around and 
around by the string, just as if it had been a 
man's hat. It was a dreadful pity to treat a 
gray "creation'' that way, but there wasn't 
anything else I could lay hold of, and I 'd got 
to swing something around or I should have 
died. When I sit here calm and quiet think- 
ing about it, it seems almost as though I should 
die of mortification. The only comfort I have 
is, everybody was so taken up with what they 
were doing themselves that I don't believe 
any of them noticed me. 

As soon as they settled down a little it 
seemed as though the people on the coach 



36 A COLLEGE COURTSHIP 

could n't say enough to Amos and Anne and 
me about William being a credit to us^ and 
all that. The pretty girl was the only one 
that did n't say a word. She kept on looking 
white. Pretty soon her mother remarked it, 
and told her if she was going to take football 
so hard as that she would n't be able to bring 
her next year. 

That professor made his way up to where 
we all were, in the face of great obstacles, 
just to tell Anne she ought to be proud of 
her boy. I don't see, for my part, what he 
wanted to put himself to so much trouble 
to tell her what she found out for herself 
long ago. Of course, I want him interested 
in William, but there 's no call, as I can 
see, for him to act as though he belonged to 
him. 

By and by, when it was all over, William 
joined us, and here comes the worst of all. 
When he told me that he and the rest of 
them were going to have a " high old time " 
that night in honor of the victory, I told him 
to have just as high an old time as he wanted 
to — he 'd earned it. How I could say such a 



A COLLEGE COURTSHIP 37 

thing as that is more than I know, seeing as 
I Ve been consumed with anxiety this long 
while over the way he was rollicking around 
nights. 

He 's been doing his studying over at his 
friend's room, because his friend's room-mate 
was sick and had gone home. When he got 
to coming in later and later I supposed it 
was just because they were so interested in 
their common pursuits that they did n't notice 
the lapse of time. I don't know but that I 
should have kept on thinking so to this day 
if it had n't been for my going to the theater 
the other night — that one just across the 
street from the colleges. 

It was just chuck-full and running over 
with boys, that theater was, especially the 
top gallery. While I was sitting there wait- 
ing for the play to begin I could n't help 
wondering if the mothers of all those boys 
up there knew where they were. I was glad, 
as I sat looking at them, that William had 
been brought up with a proper estimate of 
worldly pleasures. I should have felt dread- 
fully, I thought, at his age, to have him bask- 



38 A COLLEGE COURTSHIP 

ing in the glare of the footlights the way 
those young men were. 

Amos said, while we were sitting there, 
that he had heard, though he supposed likely 
there was n't a grain of truth in it, that that 
top gallery was n't over-strong. Some day, 
when they all got to clapping and stamping 
up there, it might come down. I told him if 
it did it would seem like a judgment on all 
those light-minded young men. Amos said 
he guessed it would be more of a judgment 
on the folks underneath. 

There was a big, broad fellow on the stage 
that came on and ofF every once in a while 
to help things along. Try as I would I could 
n't keep my eyes off him. I leaned over to 
Amos and I said : " Amos, I Ve seen that 
young man before; now where was it?" 

Amos took a good look at him and then 
he looked away again sort of queer. It would 
n't seem likely I 'd seen him, he said, seeing 
as I 'd been to the theater so seldom. He 
could n't bring me again if I was going to get 
so taken up with every handsome young man 
I saw on the stage. Pretty soon I gave a 



A COLLEGE COURTSHIP 39 

start, and I clutched Amos so that he was 
black and blue for a week. 

"Amos!'' I said, "it's William! It's our 
grandson, William! " 

It was! Amos said he knew him the min- 
ute he laid his eyes on him. I thought I 
should have died where I sat. My grandson, 
that was destined for the ministry, disporting 
himself up there on the stage with all those 
play-actors. I was going to get right up and 
go round the back way and pluck him out of 
it like a brand from the burning, but Amos 
would n't let me do it. He said for mercy sake 
to let William's best interests alone for just 
about half an hour and concentrate my zeal 
on to sitting right where I was. William was 
n't really acting, anyhow, he said; he was just 
"suping." 

It was late w^hen William came home that 
night, but it was considerably later before he 
got to bed. It all came out, in the course of 
my dealings with him, that his evenings — at 
least, a part of them — were being most un- 
profitably spent. So far as I can make out he 
has n't been doing anything really bad. I don't 



40 A COLLEGE COURTSHIP 

know as I know exactly what he has been 
doing. 

I did n't sleep a wink all night after that 
talk with William. I was so exercised think- 
ing that maybe we M better pull up stakes and 
take him away with us before he did anything 
that would disqualify him forever for the min- 
istry. I got so worked up finally, along about 
midnight, that I could n't stay in bed anyhow. 
I got up and struck a light and opened the 
Scriptures, thinking I M take the first verse 
that met my eyes as some sort of a guide for 
my actions. "And they tarried till they were 
ashamed.'' That was what I opened to, the 
very words. There could n't anything have 
been plainer. If we stayed we were going to 
be ashamed, and it was William, most likely, 
we were going to be ashamed of. I did n't 
like to break Amos of his rest, but I could n't 
keep from telling him how I felt. Amos was 
just a trifle impatient. He said that if I was 
going to get up in my stocking-feet in the 
middle of the night for the purpose of turning 
the Holy Scriptures into a lottery I deserved 
to suffer for it. If those folks that the text was 



A COLLEGE COURTSHIP 41 

speaking of stayed where they were longer 
than they were wanted they'd ought to have 
been ashamed. He was glad they were. But 
he could n't see, not if he was to be hung for 
itj what that had got to do with William. 



CHAPTER V 

IDON^T deserve what has come to me after 
what I said to William at the game — no, 
I don't. It's been so ever since I can remem- 
ber. If I wanted something real pleasing and 
comforting to happen to me I 'd just got to set 
to work and be as bad as I knew how, whereas, 
when I went to work and did the right thing, 
whether or no, there was always the old Harry 
to pay. 

Well, that professor was in to see how we 
all were after the game, and he got to talking 
about William, as usual, and he said he did 
n't know as we 'd heard how much good Wil- 
liam was doing. He says he 's taken up with 
mission work down in a terrible part of the 
town, and he 's doing no end of good to a lot 
of rough fellows there are down there. He 
says there is n't anybody can manage them the 
way William can. He 's so big they know he 
could knock them over easier than not if he 



A COLLEGE COURTSHIP 43 

wanted to, and they Ve got a dumb-beast sort 
of respect for him on account of his knowing 
how to play football the way he does. He says 
William tinds out all about them, and gets 
them work and hunts up clothes for them. 
When he sees a rich fellow selling off a lot of 
good warm things to the second-hand dealer, 
he just makes him give them to some of his 
poor fellows instead. Sometimes they give 
them to him of their own accord, he says. It 
was only the other day, at a birthday spread 
in William's honor, that William's particular 
football friend stumbled over backward, as 
he was skylarking around, and came down in 
a sitting posture on top of a chocolate cake, as 
big as a milk-pan, that Libby Hanks had sent 
over to help along. It was of a rich, creamy 
consistenc}', that cake was, and when Wil- 
liam's friend rose up it adhered to him, plate 
and all. He consecrated his trousers, so Wil- 
liam said, to the work of missions, right on 
the spot. One of William's poor men has them 
on now. When the poor man first saw them 
William said he asked if there was n't a long- 
tailed coat went with them. William said it 



44 A COLLEGE COURTSHIP 

was the first evidence of a grasping spirit he 'd 
had among his mission folks. 

I was going to put William^s name and 
age, together with a text of Scripture, on that 
cake in white frosting. I 'm glad I did n't, as 
things turned out. William's friend is terribly 
partial to Libby Hanks' cooking. He says his 
mother's table down at New York all runs 
to entrees. He never can get filled up. He 
had enough of Libby's cooking for once, 
though, he says, that time he sat on the cake. 
I suppose what made it worse was that his sis- 
ter and her cousin were there pouring out tea 
for them. It was in the afternoon the spread 
was, and they were trying to do things up 
most fashionably. I don't see how it came 
about, seeing as they were, that they left that 
cake sitting on the sofa. Men's housekeeping, 
I suppose! 

The professor says he should think Wil- 
liam has set as many as half a dozen rough 
fellows in the paths of righteousness by this 
time; he does n't know but what more. 

To think of William never having let on a 
word about it. I should think he would have 



A COLLEGE COURTSHIP 45 

when he knew I was getting so worked up 
about him, thinking he was going straight to 
the bad just as fast as ever he could go. I 
can't reconcile it, as it is, with his reveling 
around nights and cutting up generally the 
way he does. I should n't really think, if he 
could n't keep himself straight, he 'd be pros- 
pered keeping other folks straight, but so it 
is. I 've given up trying to reconcile anything 
in this day and generation. It's all so differ- 
ent from when I was young. Then a worldly 
young man was a worldly young man, and 
a pious one was a pious one. Now it's all 
mixed up. What with the pious ones cutting 
up all sorts of worldly shines, and the worldly 
ones taking to all sorts of good works, such 
as the Bible clearly says are the perquisites 
of the righteous, if a good old-fashioned Chris- 
tian can make out what 's what she 's smarter 
than I am, and that 's all I 've got to say 
about it. 

The professor says, what's more, that Wil- 
liam has a tremendous influence for good in 
the college. He says he goes into the deviltry 
head over ears till you 'd think he was n't 



46 A COLLEGE COURTSHIP 

going to bring up short of the bottomless pit, 
but first you know he 's struck a principle, 
and he won't go any further, and he can't be 
made to go any further, not if he was drawn 
and quartered for not going further, not if the 
whole college stood and jeered at him for not 
doing it. He only hopes, he says, he won't 
get expelled for some of his deviltry before 
his influence gets fairly under way. William 
has got to be purged of his nonsense some- 
how before he mounts the pulpit stairs, but I 
don't see any sign of it so far. 

Why, as I was going along by the college 
the other day, just after that big snowstorm, 
what should I see but William and half a doz- 
en accomplices standing by a big snowdrift 
with a rope in their hands, and every college 
youth that came along they 'd pick him up and 
pitch him in headlong! Then they'd throw 
him the rope to save himself by. They threw 
in a professor by mistake. He was delicate 
and all muffled up. I 'm sure I don't know 
what 's to come of it. Every time the door- 
bell rings I expect it's the President come to 
say he can't keep William here any longer. 



A COLLEGE COURTSHIP 47 

I Ve told the girl that waits on the door that 
if ever she should find the President when she 
opened the door to say I was n't feeling able 
to see him. Maybe by the time he got around 
to calling again about it he 'd have cooled 
down and be willing to compromise. 

Of course I didn't allow to that professor 
that such goodness on William's part was any- 
thing but what I 'd been prepared for right 
straight along. I even told him that I hoped 
that William would n't run to goodness at the 
expense of his intellect. Our pastor up at 
home always said that William had an intel- 
lectual brow, but it is n't turning out that way 
at all. 

He is n't going to take the valedictory the 
way I supposed he was before we came down 
here. I don't know who's to blame, but here 
along a while back, when I came to look over 
the junior appointments, William was n't any- 
where near the top. He wasn't in philo- 
sophical, nor high, nor plain orations. It was 
down in one of the lower compartments I 
found his name printed in full — "William 
Emerson Kittredge Stone." I thought, under 



48 A COLLEGE COURTSHIP 

the circumstances, W. E. K. Stone would 
have been a-plenty. 

I asked the professor if that was the best 
they could do by William in the way of teach- 
ing. I was n't so particular about William's 
proficiency in mathematics, I told him. If a 
minister could add up the number of the tribes 
and get a general bird's-eye view of sacred 
statistics, it was enough. But when it came to 
the dead languages, I told him, there I took 
my stand. If between them all they could n't 
manage to imbue William with the dead lan- 
guages, then they 'd better say so right out, 
for William had to get those dead languages 
into him somehow and somewhere. If not 
here, then elsewhere. 

Anne was telling me they 've started a soup- 
kitchen down at that mission where William 's 
interested, and the young women go down 
daytimes and tend it. The soup 's so strong it 
can almost stand alone, Anne says. It seems 
the cousin that William's football friend's 
sister visits goes down with the rest. I don't 
know what to make of it. In my day young 
women did n't sit around low places that way, 



A COLLEGE COURTSHIP 49 

with signs up on the wall, ^^No boisterous 
behavior/' and ^^ Don't spit on the floor." As 
if they'd do such things anyway! 

It seems William's friend's sister went down 
with her cousin one day, and a drunken man 
came in to get some soup, and he told her she 
looked so much like his dead sister he'd like 
to hold her hand while the soup was getting 
cooled off a little, if she did n't mind. She was 
so frightened that she held his big, dirty hand 
while one of the other young women went for 
the janitor. 

William looked up the drunken man that 
evening and he thrashed him black and blue, 
and he told him after he got through that he 
need n't trouble about coming to any more of 
his evening meetings. He did n't care whether 
he was saved or not. William's dreadfully 
violent when he sets out to be, for all he 's so 
good-natured. 



CHAPTER VI 

WHAT I Ve been through in the way 
of real perspiring anxiety is n't to be 
put into words. It was William's goodness 
caused it this time^ instead of badness. He 
brought home a burglar the other day^ from 
that place down there where he 's so inter- 
ested, and he wanted Amos and me to take 
him in and let him sleep in the barn and 
send his meals out to him till he knew what 
to do with him. It seems he was just out of 
State's prison, and he could n't get a wedge 
in anyhow to begin living over again. There 
would n't anybody have anything to do with 
him. He was just going straight to the bad, 
because there was n't any other place left 
for him to go to if William did n't take him 
up on his shoulders and see him through. 
William came across him, crying like a baby, 
on the back seat of one of his evening meet- 
ings. 

Seems to me it was going to great lengths 



A COLLEGE COURTSHIP 51 

on William's part, bringing him home that 
way. In my days it would n't have been well 
thought of, such doings as a pious young 
man, destined for the ministry, mixing him- 
self up in low company that way. If he kept 
himself unspotted from the world, and un- 
tempted by its amusements, and was willing 
to lead in prayer ever}' chance he got, why, 
it was satisfactory all around. If only Wil- 
liam could make up his mind to be that old- 
fashioned, well-regulated kind. As it is, if he 
is n't making my hair stand up one way, he 
is another, till I 've come to where I don't 
know which minute is oroino: to be the next. 

Amos entered right into the spirit of the 
thing along with William. It was almost a 
week they kept that man out there in the 
barn. Amos undertook to carry out his meals, 
and he used to sit and talk with him by the 
hour at a time. By the end of the week he 
and William between them had him real 
heartened up again, especially as they 'd 
found a place for him up in the country. 

William was of the opinion that if his 
friend's sister could be induced to come down 



S2 A COLLEGE COURTSHIP 

and speak a word or two to him in a philan- 
thropical way it would put the finishing touch 
to his reformation. He never need know, so 
William said, but that it was an angel had 
happened in on him wholly unawares. I told 
William that, seeing as that man had been 
living by his wits, I did n't believe but what 
he was capable of discriminating between a 
sweet-looking little fashion-plate and an angel. 
He'd a good deal better, so I told him, let 
Libby Hanks go out and interview him. 
Libby has a way about her that always makes 
people think they're dying to do just exactly 
what she 's afraid she can't drive them into. 
She did herself proud about the burglar. She 
wormed it out of him all about a little young 
wife he had ofT somewhere whom he was 
going to let think he was dead, he was so 
ashamed. Libby made him write to her, and 
she posted the letter herself so as to make sure 
it was done. William says Libby would make 
a first-class Salvation Army woman, but I tell 
him if he entices her out of my kitchen I '11 
make him do the cooking himself. 
. By the time the burglar was gone I was 



A COLLEGE COURTSHIP 53 

completely worn out. It takes a good deal to 
make me give in, but I just had to get into 
bed and have a doctor. I had n't closed an 
eye while that man was here. It was n't any 
use trying: I couldn't. When it comes to 
trusting the Lord about burglars I never can 
seem to rest in it, just because you can't ever 
be certain but that it might be carrying out 
some wise purpose of the Almighty to have 
you murdered in your bed. Of course, if it was, 
He wouldn't pay any attention to anything 
you might ask in a short-sighted kind of away. 
You could n't expect it. I don't want to be a 
stumbling-block in William's way, but the 
flesh is weak when it comes to boarding bur- 
glars. I don't know as I 'm altogether as good 
as I 've been accustomed to thinking I was. I 
can tell better in a few days whether it 's just 
humility ails me, or whether I really have 
got more the matter with me than I thought. 
I should feel considerably more complacent, 
and as though Providence was smiling on me 
and mine, if I could only get William's atten- 
tion riveted on a future helpmeet. I've had 
several social gatherings of young women of 



54 A COLLEGE COURTSHIP 

the highest attainments^ but William has al- 
ways had a ^^date" somewhere else, that he 
had told me he did n't think, in consideration 
of his polished ancestry, I 'd like him to be 
rude enough to break. If only Anne would 
help me. If I did n't know better I should ac- 
tually think sometimes that Anne was hand 
in glove with William in his neglect of his 
privileges. 

Anne isn't as consecrated, anyway, as it 
seems to me a minister's widow ought to be. 
Why, that time up at home, when I found Amos 
out on the hay-mow with his legs dangling 
over, swearing a steady stream (not blasphem- 
ous cursing, to be sure — more in the nature of 
involuntary expletives) because I was going 
to make him sit and twirl his thumbs for four 
years running down here, all Anne said was, 
'^Mother, you let Father Stone alone. It's 
just his way of saying, ^The will of the Lord 
be done.'" 



CHAPTER VII 

WE 'VE all been up home for Christmas. 
Martha's family went off on a visit 
to make room for us. Did n't it seem good 
getting back into the old place again ! Just 
seemed, when it came time to pull up and 
come back here, as though I could n't do it 
anyhow. Amos felt worse than I did, I know. 
Thomas a Kempis was n't to be found the 
morning we came away. It turns out he went 
up to the minister's and settled down for good 
the evening before. Amos remembers now 
seeing him (Thomas, I mean, not the min- 
ister) go up and spit at his traveling basket 
just before he set out for the parsonage. He 'd 
had enough of seats of learning. 

Three or four of William's football friends 
were there with us, also their sisters. It came 
pretty near being what they call a house party. 
We did n't call it that, though; we just called 
it having a houseful of company. 

Seems as though Libby Hanks would go 



56 A COLLEGE COURTSHIP 

clean out of her mindj she was so tickled 
with such a fussing around as there was in 
her kitchen the whole time to keep those 
young folks from starving. She could n't keep 
them out of her kitchen any more than she 
could in town^ so she just made use of them 
and set them all to work. She made one of 
those football fellows knead her bread, and 
she set another to beating up eggs, but he 
was so heavy-handed he beat them all over 
creation, and cracked the bottom of the bowl 
right straight out. The girls all had their 
sleeves rolled up, paring apples and seeding 
raisins and doing all sorts of things — look- 
ing prettier, what 's more, every one of them, 
than they did at the " Prom.'' The one that 
was up in the front pew of the back gallery 
that Sunday wanted Libby to let her fry the 
crullers. She said she liked to see them bob- 
bing around. William appeared desirous of 
lending her a helping hand. They got to 
laughing so I was afraid they 'd have the fat 
all over on top of them. 

Libby could n't keep the young folks out 
evenings any more than she could daytimes. 



A COLLEGE COURTSHIP 57 

You remember the old fireplace in the kitchen ? 
We have n't made use of it now these thirty 
years, being so unhandy for cooking. But 
those young folks cleared it out and built a 
big fire in it every night. They trimmed 
Libby's kitchen all up with greens and red 
berries. It was a pretty sight, for all it was 
sort of fantastic and unsensible, with the fire- 
light hopping and dancing, and great-grand- 
father's pewter, that Libby takes such a pride 
in, blinking and grinning up on the mantel- 
piece. 

One night they had a dance. They'd been 
up rummaging in the attic all day, hauling 
over the old Revolutionary things, and all sorts 
of trash that I'm sure I don't know what I'm 
keeping for except for the pleasure of getting 
the better of the moths. Come evening they 
all dressed up in these old things. It gave me 
a creepy feeling, just as though all our folks 
that are dead and gone to dust had got together 
and come back again. I felt that if I should 
step over to the graveyard on the hill I would 
find the graves all open and the moonlight 
shining right into them. 



58 A COLLEGE COURTSHIP 

William's friend's sister, the one that he 
helped fry the crullers, had on great-grand- 
mother's wedding-dress — the very one she 
wore the night great-grandfather brought her 
home. I 've heard how great-grandfather used 
to say that when she threw off the big warm 
cloak she 'd driven over with him in, and stood 
there with the firelight shining over her, he 
saw several angels — as many as six, he should 
think — hanging around trying to find out just 
how that gown of hers was made, they thought 
she looked so Heavenly in it. Great-grand- 
father used to say he thought so, too. I don't 
believe she looked a mite nicer than William's 
football friend's sister did. 

William had on great-grandfather's wed- 
ding get-up. I want to say right now that I 
don't believe great-grandfather could have 
held a candle to him, he was so clean built 
and stately in it. 

After they were through dancing they drew 
up the old high-back settles right in front of 
the fire, and they took to seeing which could 
beat the other at telling ghost stories. They 



A COLLEGE COURTSHIP 59 

were toasting marshmallows and eating them 
by the pound at the same time. 

The other night I woke up toward morn- 
ing sort of cold and shivery. The weather 
had changed in the night and there was n't 
enough covering on the bed. I knew there 
was a big pile of blankets right on the closet 
shelf, but I got to going over those ghost 
stories till nothing on earth would have hired 
me to get up and get them. Especially I got 
to thinking about the ghost that lived under 
a musty bed in an old castle (the young man 
that told the story did n't say the bed was 
musty, but I 'm convinced it was), and if 
anybody that was sleeping in the bed got out 
before daylight — without crossing himself 
and saying the Creed backward — before he 
could get his feet to the ground the ghost 
whipped out a big pair of shears and cut off 
his corns. I was in a cold perspiration lying 
there and thinking how it must have hurt, 
and wondering why it was that the departed 
must always be making themselves so un- 
pleasant. Finally I waked up Amos and asked 
him to get the blankets. I knew all the while 



6o A COLLEGE COURTSHIP 

there was n't really anything under the bed 
— it was only an idea. Amos never suffering 
from ideas, I thought he was the one to get 
them. Why, if Amos was put into a caldron 
of cold water, and told on good authority it 
was going to be heated up slowly till it scalded 
him to death, he would n't begin to dance 
around till it really got hot. Now, if I got 
placed in such circumstances, I should be 
rather inclined to be apprehensive. 

The fire kept getting lower and lower the 
night they were telling those stories, till there 
was n't anything but a red glow left. The 
lower the fire burned the worse stories they 
told. The little girl that fried the crullers 
was sitting next to William. Her eyes kept 
getting bigger and bigger and her face whiter 
and whiter. I saw William look down at her 
little curly head that was close to his shoulder. 
She was so frightened she did n't know she 'd 
been edging up to him, just like a little child 
to its mother, and then I saw him take her 
little hand in his big brown one and hold it 
fast till the stories were over with. I thought 
it was real thoughtful and considerate of my 



A COLLEGE COURTSHIP 6i 

William. He always was real tender to every- 
thing that was little and helpless. Why, he 
used, when he was small, to take a quart pail 
and go out and pick it full of caterpillars that 
he was afraid would get stepped on if they 
stayed where they were. I must tell him, 
though, that it is n't going to do, now he 's 
grown up, for him to hold every girl's hand 
he comes across just because he 's sorry for 
her. I 'm going to explain to him that it might 
lead several of them at a time to think he 
was paying his addresses to them, and that 
wouldn't be seemly. What's more, it would 
make a lot of trouble in the ministry if he 
didn't overcome the habit. 

I wish I could find that girl I 'm looking 
for for him. Maybe she would break up this 
habit of his, of holding other girls' hands, 
quicker than I could. I 've found several that 
would suit me, but William seems dreadfully 
difficult. He was asking me only the other 
day how I thought it would do if he should 
live on half his salary with a wife he 'd really 
like to have around and donate the other half 
to the work of the church. Would n't he be 



62 A COLLEGE COURTSHIP 

doing just as much that way as by living on 
the whole with a real tearer in the vineyard. 
It wouldn't be practicable, of course, and I 
told him so. 



CHAPTER VIII 

ANNE has a real pretty new dress. She 
went to the length of going down to 
New York to get it made. It 's black and soft 
and fleecy-looking, and cut down just about 
halfway in the neck. She wears it right 
straight along evenings now when she is go- 
ing out. Sometimes she puts it on when she 
is n't. It is n't going to last any time at all, 
I 'm afraid. She 's happened to have it on sev- 
eral evenings when that teacher of William's 
called. 

I spoke to Anne about it. I told her, as 
long as he was liable to drop in any minute, 
I would n't put it on if I were she. It was so 
sort of worldly-looking, I told her, it might 
give him the impression she was n't really 
consecrated to William's best interests, and 
we did n't want to do anything to break up 
any feeling of solemnity we might have suc- 
ceeded in getting into him about William. 

Anne was careful, after that, about putting 



64 A COLLEGE COURTSHIP 

it on. One night she ventured, though, think- 
ing as he 'd been in the night before it was n't 
likely he M come again so soon. 

When the professor got to the door (became, 
for all he was n't expected) he stood stock- 
still on the threshold and stared at Anne. He 
seemed sort of spellbound. I don't know what 
would have happened if I had n't spoken up 
good and lively. 

"Good-evening, professor," said I; "how 
is William?" 

That brought him to. He remembered what 
he 'd come for. I did n't really blame him 
for stopping to look at Anne, though. Anne is 
stately-appearing and has noble features. She 
put me in mind, sitting just the way she was, 
of a picture of a middle-aged queen I 'd seen 
somewhere. I think likely she put the profes- 
sor in mind of the same picture, and being 
strict with his memory, the way a professor 
ought to be, he was n't going to stir a sin- 
gle step till he could place the thing. It was 
real commendable in him, I think, though, of 
course, I could n't have him standing on there 
forever. 



A COLLEGE COURTSHIP 65 

It's quite an intellectual feat for Anne to 
entertain a man of that professor's mental cal- 
iber, so I generally start one or two topics, to 
help her along, before I leave the room. This 
time it was the parade that William and his 
classmates had had over on the campus in 
their pajamas that I introduced. I was morti- 
fied to death, I told the professor, to have had 
William around outdoors in his nightshirt that 
way. I was convinced, in view of it, that the 
tone of William's mind was getting lowered 
down here, for I never had any trouble up at 
home keeping him properly clothed except 
once. That was one summer when he was 
about twelve years old, I should say; he gave 
out, as cool as a cucumber, that he was n't 
going to wear clothes that summer. He did 
n't believe in them, he said. I succeeded in 
convincing him that it was always best to do 
what was customary, no matter if it wasn't 
really necessary. I supposed I 'd settled the 
question with him once for all. It looks now, 
though, as if I'd got to go over the whole 
ground with him again. 

I was telling Amos the other day, when he 



66 A COLLEGE COURTSHIP 

said that boys were dreadfully earnest-minded 
underneath, the wildest of them, that it must 
certainly be underneath if it was anywhere 
when such doings as that were going forward. 
Amos happened to speak that way on account 
of the boys having behaved so differently 
when we went to chapel the other Sunday 
morning from what they did that time I went 
alone. The preacher that was in charge set 
forth religion in his remarks pretty much as 
he might have done if it had been the grand- 
est kind of a football wrestle, with Satan and 
all his angels for the other eleven. You got to 
feeling before he was done that right living 
was something to be hankered after just for 
the glory of the thing. He knew enough, what 
was more, that man did, to be done almost 
before you realized he 'd begun. That great 
churchful of boys pricked up their ears and 
listened till 3^ou could have heard a pin drop 
anywhere. Not that anybody was shedding 
pins, or wanted to, as I know of, but if they 
had been you could have heard them. I don't 
know but in common fairness I ought to men- 
tion that this preacher did n't have anything 



A COLLEGE COURTSHIP 67 

to contend with up in tlie back gallery the 
way the other one had. There was a row of 
old gentlemen from out of town up in that 
front pew — fathers of portions of the audi- 
ence, I presume. Nice, aristocratic old gen- 
tlemen they looked to be, but there was n't 
anything about them calculated to turn a 
young man's head. 

I introduced the subject of William's secret 
societies, too. I thought that would be enough 
to last Anne and the professor all the evening. 
William is completely wrapped up in the last 
one he joined. I told him the other day that I 
was getting to have a shut-out feeling about 
his doings, and that I thought maybe if he 'd 
drop a hint to those organizations of his about 
how intimate we 'd always been, he and I, 
they'd made an exception and let him talk it 
all over with me. William turned as red as 
fire, and got up and went out of the room 
without saying a word. All the same, I wish 
he could see his way clear to telling me the 
main facts about those societies of his. I 
would n't ask for him to go into particulars. 



CHAPTER IX 

WELL! that job is over. William has 
graduated. We Ve all been to the grad- 
uating exercises — Amos, Anne and I, and 
Libby Hanks went to some of them. Of course, 
having William in the thick of them, we were 
willing to go through a good deal. 

I Ve been over a cooking-stove, off and on, 
all my life, but I don't know as I ever was 
warmer than I was up in that front pew watch- 
ing William graduate. I did think once or 
twice I 'd get up and go home. But I said to 
myself, " Maria Stone, you 're going to sit right 
where you are till you Ve made sure William 's 
being done by just as he ought to be. You 
are n't going to trust William's last moments 
to the facultv." It came over me, when I saw 
the faculty all sitting up there on the platform, 
just full to the brim and running over with 
good manners, bowing here and bowing there, 
that maybe they would n't be quite so smiling 
if they knew that, in addition to being as 



A COLLEGE COURTSHIP 69 

warm as I was up there in that gallery, dis- 
appointment was gnawing at my vitals on ac- 
count of William not having got the upper 
hand of the dead languages the way I had 
anticipated. 

I shut my eyes in the end so I should n't 
see other folks' boys having honors conferred 
upon them that I knew William was worthy 
of if he 'd only been properly attended to. 

First thing I knew, while I was sitting 
there with my eyes shut, Anne jostled my el- 
bow. I looked up right off to find out what it 
was she wanted. If there was n't William up 
on the platform, big and handsome as a bishop 
in that black gown of his, getting his diploma 
from the President's own hands, the way that 
only a few of the scholars that have done the 
best get them. He 'd gone up while my eyes 
were shut. If I was settled down in heaven 
and saw somebody coming in at the door that 
I 'd given up all hopes of, I could n't feel much 
happier than I did that minute. 

Amos was sitting with the class of '47 
down in the body of the church. He 'd been 
obliged to pass himself off as an alumnus to 



70 A COLLEGE COURTSHIP 

get in at all^ and the class of '47 seemed to 
match his hair best. He said I looked like 
a demented old April shower^ grinning from 
ear to ear and crying at the same time the 
way I was. 

I did look to see William Stone solemnized 
for once. On the contrary, just as he was 
coming down the platform steps, he looked 
straight up at me, and for all his eyes were 
quite watery he winked at me — actually 
winked at me, before all those people, as 
much as to say, ^^Well, Gram, did you ever 
get left ? '' 

I saw him cast a glance up at the opposite 
gallery, where his friend's sister and her moth- 
er were sitting. I only hope he did n't wink 
at them, too. His friend's sister most certainly 
had on a Paris dress this time, if she did n't 
at the " Prom." It was pale green and white, 
and she had some wonderful flowery little 
affair — I think Anne called it a toque — 
perched on that sunshiny hair of hers. Her 
brother was sitting right beside William. He 
was graduating, too, and it seemed as though 
she could n't look anywhere but in that direc- 



A COLLEGE COURTSHIP 71 

tion. Her little face just shone, she was so 
interested watching him. William will never 
know what he missed not having a sister to 
watch him that way. Maybe she would have 
looked like me, though. If she had she could 
n't have worn light green. It always made 
me look like a half-ripe pumpkin. 

She was going to some luncheons after; 
that was why she was so dressed up. Wil- 
liam went to them also. 

It seems William had taken it to heart con- 
siderably, my being so disappointed in him, 
and he 'd buckled down to his studies with 
all his might. He 'd trampled on Greek and 
Latin as though they were the dust beneath 
his feet. He '11 be able now to take the first 
church in the land so far as the dead lan- 
guages are concerned. We '11 all go to hear 
him, even if it 's a hundred miles off, the first 
time he preaches to his new charge. 

I hope there '11 be a stained-glass window 
behind him, and I shall encourage his wear- 
ing a gown. I think there 's nothing like a 
stained-glass window and a gown for setting 
a minister off, provided he has n't got too 



72 A COLLEGE COURTSHIP 

big ears. There was James Newell, Amanda 
NewelPs boy. He went into the ministry 
and his ears were something awful. They 
stuck straight out from his head just like a 
pair of wings. His mother ought to have 
had him sleep in a nightcap to hold them 
down when he was little. Amanda never 
did get around to anything in time, though. 
Well, he used to preach right in front of 
a stained-glass window, and the red light 
from it shone right through those ears of his 
and made them flame color. It used to make 
me think of the burning bush — those two 
flames always hitched to him and never mak- 
ing any headway. 

We're all going home! home! I can't re- 
alize it. We 're going to cast the dust of 
seats of learning from off' our feet forever. 
We 're going to take back, thanks to our- 
selves under God, just what we brought with 
us — a nice, elevated, Christian young man. 
He '11 have the seminary to get through now, 
of course, but we need n't worry any more 
about him there than as though he was in a 
boarding-house with the twelve Apostles. 



A COLLEGE COURTSHIP 73 

I 'm sorry about not having picked out 
a wife down here. That 's the only thing I 
have n't accomplished I set out to. If worst 
comes to worst, he '11 have to select from his 
cono^reo^ation. But I 'd rather not have left it 
till the last minute that way if I could have 
helped it. I suppose, for that matter, he could 
live alone. Phillips Brooks and some real 
first-class ministers have done so without im- 
pairing their usefulness. It was at the very 
last minute, however, that the Lord pro- 
vided a sacrifice in Abraham's case. Maybe 
it will be so in William's. 



CHAPTER X 

I'M a wicked, sinful old woman. I Ve been 
mistrusting it this long while, and now 
I 'm sure of it. The root of the matter is n't in 
me. It would n't be any comfort going to 
heaven, for I should n't enjoy it. I love the 
world and nothing but the world, and I 'd bet- 
ter make it my portion and done with it. 

William came to my room last night and 
told me that he 'd consecrated himself to the 
work of missions down in the most abandoned 
slums of New York City. Here I 've been all 
these years, feeding on the thoughts of him 
as pastor of a pleasant, civilized church. I'd 
thought I should take a real, sanctified pleas- 
ure, when I went to visit him, in being invited 
out to tea among his cultured flock, and listen- 
ing to their praises of him. I declare, I don't 
know how I 'm going to stand it to have him 
bury himself among such folks as he's going 
to, spending and being spent for the scum of 
the earth, that would n't know the difference 



A COLLEGE COURTSHIP 75 

if you sent a converted tin peddler to labor 
among them. I know, of course, the Lord has 
got a right to William, but that is n't saying 
the scum of the earth have. If we're going to 
give the Lord credit for any sort of sense of 
fitness I don't believe He likes to see all the 
money we 've spent on William's dead lan- 
guages going for nothing down there in those 
slums. There was n't the least particle of need, 
so far as I have been able to see, of his having 
come to college at all. 

The worst of it all is, and what makes me 
feel wickeder than anything else, Amos and 
Anne are going around to-day with a look of 
solemn joy on their countenances that just 
makes me want — I might just as well say it 
out plain and done with it — to pinch them. 
When I was little I used to think if I died 
young, and got put down on a bench with a 
nice little angel that would n't stop singing, 
I 'd just pinch her and see whether she was 
holy. I 've been feeling just that way to Amos 
and Anne all day. 

There 's one thing certain, I must flax around 
and get a wife for William now. It 's all very 



76 A COLLEGE COURTSHIP 

well to entertain the idea of his being a bache- 
lor in a nice respectable churchy where every 
which way he turned he 'd have a sister ready 
to jump and wait on him. But down in those 
slums? Mercy me! I hope the kind of sisters 
he '11 find down there won't touch him with 
a ten-foot pole. I suppose I '11 have to look 
lower down, though, now. I don't suppose 
any of those superior girls I 've been planning 
for would want to throw away their education 
that way. I '11 just have to try now for a smart, 
good, consecrated woman that can keep him 
mended up and make a dollar do considerably 
more than it was meant to. 

William's friend's father asked us all to go 
down to the boat races with him on his yacht. 
William and Anne are going, but I don't feel in 
any kind of mood for it. Amos and I and Libby 
Hanks are going home across lots the very 
quickest way. I would n't go to those races 
anyhow, no matter if I was n't in a hurry to 
get home. One of William's friends was asking 
him, so it appears, if his grandmother had any 
money up on that commencement ball game, 
she seemed to take it so hard that our college 



A COLLEGE COURTSHIP 77 

got beaten. Vm not going to have anybody 
thinking I 've got money up on those races, just 
because I could n't help showing out just what 
I felt if I should have to sit by again the way 
I did out at that ball game, and see folks pot- 
ting upon us. I could n't run the risk anj^how 
of seeing another of our boarder-boys beaten, 
and there's one of them been on the crew for 
quite a spell back. Seeing he 's got a mother, 
it's her place to worry through those races 
with him, and I 'm firmly of the opinion that 
I 'm going to let her. I 've undergone all I 'm 
able for. 

It was a terribly wearing sort of a game, 
though, that ball game was. It was first one 
side tearing its hair and then the other. 
William was sitting beside me, and I heard 
him plainly gnashing his teeth. When I came 
to see that we were most probably going 
to get beaten I asked William would n't he 
please be so kind as to take me home. It gave 
me such a queer feeling at the pit of my 
stomach. He said he was sorry, but it would 
n't be practicable, so I just shut my eyes and 
tried not to listen to the acclamations of the 



78 A COLLEGE COURTSHIP 

other folks. They 're a dreadfully noisy set, so 
it appears to me — that other crowd. 

It was dreadfully childish, what's more, the 
way they gave way to their feelings after it 
was all over. They ought to have more self- 
control. 

I hurried to the kitchen the minute I got 
home, and I told Libby Hanks to stir up that 
shortcake, quick, that our boarder-boy that 's 
on the team likes best of anything. She might 
split it, I told her, and butter it thick, and put 
plenty of raspberries in. I told her it might 
comfort him. Libby was almost in tears, she 
felt so badly for that boy. But he did n't feel 
badly for himself. He was as cheerful as they 
make them. "Just you wait till next time. 
Gram," was all there was to be had out of 
him. 

That professor came in to bid Anne good- 
bye. He stayed so long I was worried. "Amos," 
said I, "do you think William is in a scrape 
at this late day?" Amos said he thought more 
likely the professor was in one. He 'd seen it 
coming, he said, for some time. He went off 
in a great hurry when he did go, without so 



A COLLEGE COURTSHIP 79 

much as saying good-bye to Amos and me. 
Anne went right to her room, and she did n't 
come down to supper. I was pretty sure once 
I heard her crying. She was all worn out 
talking to that professor. Anne's nerves never 
were strong. If a man, when he gets to that 
age, does n't know enough to go home when 
it's time, I don't know who's going to tell him 
to. I suppose I should have to if we were go- 
ing to stay. As it is, maybe I '11 have to, for 
Amos met him on the street this morning and 
he told him he was coming up to call on us in 
a week or ten days. There does n't seem to 
be any such thing as losing that professor. 



CHAPTER XI 

I'M thankful that I am a better woman than 
I was before. The Lord has had his heel 
on me, and I Ve come out improved in shape 
— though somewhat flattened. 

We 're at home again. I 'm beginning to 
enjoy it now. Just at first I was so upset in 
my mind I did n't really take it in that we 'd 
got here. William came into my room the 
ver}^ first evening after he got here. I declare, 
I Ve got so I dread the very sight of him after 
dark. I was sitting by the window in the moon- 
light, thinking to myself how it always did 
turn out in this world that if you got what you 
wanted you got something else along with it 
that spoiled it all, just the way the Israelites 
got the plague on top of the meat they 'd been 
wanting. 

Here I 'd been looking forward for four 
long years to getting home, and sitting down 
after dark by the open window in my sitting- 
room, with the dew falling, and the frogs call- 



A COLLEGE COURTSHIP 8i 

ing, and the moonlight sifting through every- 
thing like quicksilver, and there I 'd got just 
what I wanted to a T, and I might as well 
have been sitting on nettles for all the peace 
of mind I was experiencing, turning Wil- 
liam's future over and over in my mind and 
not being able to find a satisfactory side to it 
anywhere. 

It was just as I was feeling the worst that 
William came in and sat down on a chair be- 
side me and took my hand in his. He sat look- 
ing out into the garden for a while without 
saying a word. I knew it was n't going to last, 
though — his not saying anything. His face 
was all lit up. I could see it in the moon- 
shine. I knew he was holding on to my hand 
to steady me for something that was coming. 
It passed through my mind that he need n't 
look so superior ; I could remember plenty of 
times, and those not so long since, when I 'd 
given him my hand to steady him through 
having his teeth out and the like, and he 'd 
recognized the benefit of it plainly, what was 
more. 

I declare, it takes grace and gumption to 



82 A COLLEGE COURTSHIP 

know how to behave when folks that you Ve 
spanked and lorded it over generally begin to 
put on airs and be patronizing. William looked 
real patronizing there in the moonlight. 

" Gram/' said he^ after we had sat in silence 
a spell longer: "Gram, Pm the happiest fel- 
low in creation." 

"Well/' said I, for I was just aggravated 
by that time, "I 'm not surprised to hear it. 
You have n't passed the time of life when 
your own feelings are the only thing on earth. 
Maybe when you get a little older/' said I 
(for I thought I 'd take him down a peg then 
and there), "you'll learn to look around and 
see how other folks are feeling." 

" Gram," said he, going straight on with- 
out noticing me any more than as though I 'd 
been a puppy biting at his shins, "she's going 
into it with me. I would n't let her, but she 
says it would kill her not to. We 're going — 
good Heavens!" he said, "I can't believe it 
yet. We 're going into it together. I gave her 
up, and now I have her back. Gram," he 
said, smiling with the tears standing in his 
eyes. "If I die of joy here and now, tell her 



A COLLEGE COURTSHIP 83 

I was n't weakly, but it was too much for any 
man." 

"Who on earth, William Stone/' said I, 
"and what on earth are you talking about? 
If it 's your mother, if she is the ' she ' you Ve 
apparently gone and dragged down into those 
slums with you, I '11 never forgive you. If 
she has n't got sense, with her tender health, 
not to go tagging on down there after you, 
you ought to have sense not to let her. I 'm 
ashamed of you, William Stone, maudling on 
here like a crazy creature, calling on God to 
witness, so to speak, that you 've got some- 
body to darn your stockings and brush your 
clothes and sacrifice herself for you generally 
down there." 

It was n't his mother any more than it was 
me. It was that beautiful, giddy young crea- 
ture I 've alluded to now and again : the one 
that was up in the front row of the back gal- 
lery that time, the one that was at the " Prom.," 
the one that had her likeness taken with me, 
the one that was so frightened at the football 
game, the one that fried the crullers and was 
so afraid of the ghost stories. She 's the one. 



84 A COLLEGE COURTSHIP 

William Stone has been and gone and got en- 
gaged to her without saying a word to me 
about it. 

I will say this for William, though: I don't 
think he meant to do it without asking me. 
He said he did n't. He said ever since he first 
clapped eyes on her up there in the front pew 
at chapel he knew he was n't ever going to be 
happy marrying anybody else. He said he 'd 
sort of given up the idea of being happy, 
though, when he came to decide about going 
into the slums. He was n't going to let her 
know ever, he said, how much he thought of 
her. He did n't believe he ever should have, 
he said, if it had n't been for their telling ghost 
stories that night in the kitchen. When he 
came to feel that little girl creeping up against 
him for protection, being so frightened she 
did n't know what she was doing, he could n't 
any more have helped taking her hand in his 
than he could have helped falling off a preci- 
pice if he 'd been pushed. It was Nature, he 
said, and grace did n't have time to work. He 
said I was mistaken thinking he was in the 
habit of holding girls' hands. He said he 



A COLLEGE COURTSHIP 85 

was n% and having once done so, he said he 
felt there was n't anything left for him but to 
speak up and tell her how much he set by her, 
but that he set too much by her to marry her 
seeing he was going into the sort of thing he 
was. He said, though, she just teased to go 
into it with him, soon as she found out he 
was n't leaving her behind for the fun of it. 

He was going to talk it over with her father, 
he said, and if he was willing they were going 
to be married, and if he was n't he was afraid 
they were going to be married all the same. 
If he did n't give them his blessing it was n't 
their fault. They were going to give him a 
chance. 

I sat up by that window all night. I don't 
know why I did n't take my death. I felt sit- 
ting there stock still with the dew dropping 
in and settling all over me most as I should 
suppose folks in graveyards must feel — left 
out over night the way they are. 

I should n't have dared to close my eyes 
anyway, even if I 'd gone to bed, for fear I 'd 
die in the night, and I not fit for d3ang, to say 
nothing of living. It was bad enough having 



86 A COLLEGE COURTSHIP 

Amos and Anne and William all getting ahead 
of me in goodness, but when it came to that 
little, giddy, light-headed, fashionable creature 
being willing to go into the slums with Wil- 
liam, when I was n't even willing to have him 
go alone, I felt condemned to the dust. I felt 
I'd got to get right-minded before morning, 
let come what would, and with the Lord's 
help I did. Right there where I was sitting I 
gave up the stained-glass window behind Wil- 
liam, and the tea-parties, and the whole look- 
ing forward to of a lifetime. William won't 
ever know what it cost me, or he 'd have 
moderated his convictions, I know he would. 
Convictions can be moderated without spoil- 
ing them, like most everything else. The col- 
lege would have been more sparing of its in- 
fluence, too, I know it would, if it had realized 
what it was going to mean to me, having Wil- 
liam so over-consecrated. 

Libby Hanks found me sitting there in the 
morning when she came down to lay the 
table. She said I looked as though I had been 
dead a month. I told her I most wished I 
had. She put me to bed and gave me a cup of 



A COLLEGE COURTSHIP 87 

herb tea^ and first I knew it was sundown. 
I 'd been sleeping off the conflict and the 
herb tea all day long. 

Just as soon as Libby Hanks had brought 
me something to eat I sent for William and I 
blessed him. I told him if he would only pre- 
vail upon his intended to come up and spend 
a month with us this summer I would bless 
her too. I don't know what more there is that 
I can do. I can't make myself be glad over 
it. I can just act up to the mark, through 
thick and thin, and maybe by and by the peace 
of resignation will set in. 



CHAPTER XII 

I HAVE just been to the kitchen door to 
ask Libby Hanks to set on a couple of 
flatirons. I 'm going to press out the front of 
my afternoon muslin, the lilac and white one 
that Anne made for me for hot afternoons. 
It 's open in a " V '' at the neck — not a cap- 
ital "V/' but a small letter — and it has a 
white muslin handkerchief folded across the 
chest. It is all creases down the front from 
William's little intended having been in and 
out of my lap about a dozen times a day ever 
since she came. I never know when to ex- 
pect her. She comes and settles herself down 
in my lap without so much as saying "by 
your leave/' just as though she belonged 
there, and plays with my hair (she says she 
can't keep her hands off it, it 's so pretty), 
and pats my cheek and snuggles her head on 
my shoulder if she happens to be tired. When 
William comes hanging around us and says 
it 's his turn to be admired, she just throws 



A COLLEGE COURTSHIP 89 

him a kiss and sends him off. Why! if I was 
ensfao^ed to be married to a minister I would 
n't dare to treat him that way. I should be 
paralyzed with reverence. He could guide 
me with his eye. As it was, I always called 
Amos ^^]Mr. Stone" before folks. 

I don't know, but sometimes I think if my 
little Eliza had lived she'd have been some- 
thing like William's intended. I '11 just have 
to go to bed and stay there, though, if I let 
myself get to talking that way. 

William's future father-in-law has been up 
here, too. He appears to be completely recon- 
ciled. He says he 's been acutely interested 
in missionaries' wives as a class for a number 
of years. He 's been meaning to single out 
one of them and make her real comfortable 
as far as money matters went — endow her, 
as it were, just the way folks do churches, so 
it would n't make any difference what re- 
ligious tangent her husband flew off on, she 'd 
always be provided for. He says he would 
n't wonder if it would be best to donate it to 
his own daughter now she 's been so thought- 
less as to get engaged to William, He asked 



go A COLLEGE COURTSHIP 

me if I thought a missionary's wife could be 
any way comfortable with fifty thousand dol- 
lars just to begin on. I think the man 's crazy. 
Every time Libby Hanks bakes a fresh pie 
and he eats it he talks wilder and wilder about 
what he 's going to do for Mrs. William — 
that 's what he calls her. I told Libby if she 
could bake anyways badly I wished she 
would, or there would n't be any self-denial 
left in William's lot. 

The irons are hot now. I shan't trouble to 
take off my dress — I shall just raise up the 
front breadth and lay it over the ironing- 
board. After that 's done I 've got to go out 
in the garden and pick some raspberries. 
William's little intended likes raspberries and 
cream best of anything for her tea. I want 
she should have them fresh, and I don't let 
anybody into my raspberry patch but myself. 
Raspberry bushes have their feelings, and 
have got to be humored, just the same as 
folks, if you are going to get along with them. 
I 'm not going to have anybody, I don't care 
who, trampling and jerking and twitching and 
switching through mine. 



A COLLEGE COURTSHIP 91 

Amos says that if I 'm willing to pick rasp- 
berries in my afternoon gown for William's 
intended, seeing how disappointed I am, he 
doesn't dare to think what I'd have done if 
William had married a really superior person. 
He does n't doubt if she wanted fresh apple 
sauce for supper I 'd shin up the tree and get 
it for her. I find it better sometimes not to 
answer Amos. 

Of course, William won't be married till 
he gets through the seminary. I tell him I 
shouldn't bother about going to the seminary 
if I was going into the slums the way he is. 
He seems to think he ought to, though. It '11 
give me plenty of time to arrange about going 
to the wedding. I was writing to my sister 
Elizabeth that, as William's only surviving 
great-aunt, she must be real careful of herself 
and husband her strength so as to live till 
then. I don't think there 's anything lends such 
an air of respectability to a wedding as the 
presence of living ancestry. I might as well 
be honest about it, though. It is n't out of re- 
gard for looks I 'm going; I 'm bent on seeing 
one angel if I never see any more. 



92 A COLLEGE COURTSHIP 

As I was telling Amos the other day, any- 
body that had ever really seen William's little 
intended so as to realize what she was likely 
to look like standing up as our William's 
bride wouldn't miss seeing her, not if they 
crawled there on all fours. 

That professor came riding up here the 
other day on the stage. Hannah Rockwell 
saw him riding past on the back seat. And 
the next morning she said she saw him riding 
back again on the very same seat, looking for 
all the world, she said, as though he was 
pinned fast to where he sat and as if he had n't 
got out at all. He had, though. He 'd been 
at our house to tea, and then he 'd spent the 
evening. 

I told Amos after he was gone that I was 
n't going to have Anne pestered that way. I 
was going to tell that man that if he 'd once 
seen Anne's husband, our Edward, he'd real- 
ize at a glance wherein his difficulty lay, 
and give up trying to compete with him. 
Amos said, though, that he would n't. It was 
a real instructive display, he thought. It beat 
Bruce's spider all hollow. Besides, he said, 



A COLLEGE COURTSHIP 93 

the stage-driver was dreadfully poor. It would 
mean considerable to him if he could count 
on a regular passenger. 

Thomas a Kempis does n't take to that pro- 
fessor any more than I do. He 's instinctive, 
that cat is. When the professor sits down he 
hitches up his trousers. It 's so that they won't 
bag at the knee when he comes to get up 
again, William says. Sometimes he gets them 
up higher than he realizes, and higher than 
what is really graceful. Thomas a Kempis 
came along the other evening when he 'd got 
them higher than usual, and he sharpened his 
claws on the professor's stocking-leg just as 
though it had been the leg of a chair. 

It was n't either right or respectful of 
Thomas. I suppose if heM realized he was 
sharpening his claws on one of the University 
faculty he would n't have done it. He ought 
n't to give way to personal antipathy, anyway, 
Thomas had n't. It 's underbred. 



THE PARSON'S BUTTERFLY 



THE PARSON'S BUTTERFLY 

CHAPTER I 

IT all came about because the Reverend 
Theodore McFarland (in other words, 
" Teddy ") insisted that I was engaged to 
him when I really was not at all. Teddy said 
that in the eternal fitness of things I belonged 
to him, and that even if I should take the 
wings of the morning and fly to the uttermost 
parts of the sea — being a minister, Teddy 
fell naturally into Biblical metaphor — it would 
not help me any. Sooner or later I would have 
to come back to him. It was foreordained. 

I told Teddy that I was awfully sorry, but 
I really could not help it if it was. I just 
could not marr}^ a minister. I thought he was 
exceedingly nice, I told him, but I did not 
know the least little bit about prayer-meet- 
ings and such things. And then, too, I had 
always had such a good time. I just knew I 
could not settle down and get over it all in a 



98 THE PARSON'S BUTTERFLY 

minute. Perhaps, I told him — just perhaps 
— if he were willing to wait until I was forty 
I would be so old then that I would not care 
any more about earthly things and I would 
not mind marrying him. Seventeen from forty 
left twenty-three. That would not be so very 
many years to wait, after all. I could not hon- 
estly advise him to wait, however, for I had 
seen old ladies that kept getting gayer and 
gayer all the time until they died. Perhaps, 
too, I might have married somebody else by 
that time. The somebody else might say it 
was foreordained, too, and then, as can be 
readily understood, I would not have any- 
thing to say about it one way or another. 

Teddy turned very white and his eyes 
blazed, and he rose up and stalked — that is 
the only word for it — right out of the house 
without even bidding me good-night. I am 
sure he had asked me if I could not give him 
a little encouragement, and if that were not a 
little I don't know what would have been. 

That was the last I saw of Teddy all that 
winter except on the street once or twice, 
and then I hardly knew him, his cheekbones 



THE PARSON'S BUTTERFLY 99 

stuck out so. But he was the same grand- 
looking old Teddy. He was such a big, manly 
fellow, and he was always perfectly groomed 
and correct in his dress. An aristocratic ath- 
lete, that is what Teddy was, from the crown 
of his head to the soles of his feet; and that, 
as everybody knows, is an irresistible com- 
bination, so far as looks go. A " broth of a 
boy " was the way Hannah, mother's old 
standby of a laundress, depicted him once in 
a burst of enthusiasm to John Sparks, the 
butler; and John Sparks, who is nothing if 
not ultra-respectful, retorted in a burst of 
something else that if she, Hannah, did n't 
know any better than to talk that way, she 
was a " bog-trotter," and she 'd better go wipe 
dishes in a restaurant. It was all she was fit for. 

John Sparks is a most important member of 
our family. He was father's valet at Oxford, 
and then he traveled around the world with 
him. In one way and another they have been 
together for thirty years. John says he would 
let father make mincemeat of him. 

John was very angry with me when Teddy 
stopped coming to the house, and showed 



loo THE PARSON'S BUTTERFLY 

it in ways peculiar to himself. For instance, 
when a very magnificent general was at dinner 
with uSj and I had on a new gown and was 
feeling particularly grown-up, John put my 
baby knife and fork by my plate for one of the 
courses. Mother will never have them taken 
away from the silver-drawer. When father 
said ^^John ! '' like a pistol shot^ John pretended 
to be overwhelmed with confusion, but he 
meant to do it all the time. The general was 
a widower, just beginning " to take notice,'' 
and John was working in Teddy's interest. 
John was crushingly ceremonious, also, in 
his reception of several young men who came 
to the house that winter, and who, like Teddy, 
believed in foreordination, only they were not 
so rude about it as Teddy was. 

It was not strange that John was so devoted 
to Teddy, for everybody loved Teddy — high 
and low. He had what somebody calls " the 
bright cordiality of a common brotherhood," 
and he had the sunniest, truest, kindest nature, 
and it showed in his face. He was not a bit 
given to blazing and stalking in the way he 
did that once. 



THE PARSON'S BUTTERFLY loi 

Cousin Jack says the only trouble with Teddy 
is that he is so ^^besottedly righteous "; but 
then Jack is not sufficiently encumbered with 
righteousness himself to be a good judge. 
Jack has lived with us ever since he was 
six months old. He fairly worships father and 
mother. Instead of calling them uncle and 
aunt he calls them milord and milady. We 
all worship Jack, too. There is only one man, 
except father, who I think is any nicer. 

Tedd}^ was wise in his day and generation 
to stay away all that winter as he did. I really 
think that in one way I never had such a good 
time in all my life as I did that winter. I was 
^^abud/' and had the loveliest gowns and 
no end of ^^ functions," and Jack to go every- 
where with me, and the young men of whom 
John Sparks disapproved so strongly — the 
^^ candidates/' as Jack called them — to send 
me so many more flowers than I could wear, 
and so many more bonbons than I could eat, 
that I used to put them into a basket once a 
week with my german favors and send them 
to the children's hospital. " Marks of esteem," 
Jack called these offerings. 



I02 THE PARSON'S BUTTERFLY 

I felt, though, through it all, every time I 
thought of Teddy, like a very small whale 
with a very big harpoon in him. I suppose the 
harpoon was the foreordination Teddy talked 
about. It was most uncomfortable, and I 
could not get away from it, try as I would, 
though first and last I led it a most disrespect- 
ful dance, I am afraid. 

I remember how, right in the thick of the 
winter, father called me into the library and 
said : " Elizabeth, will you take a seat on the 
divan; I have something about which I wish 
to speak to you." Now this from dear old dad 
was terrific. He called me Betty, as a rule, 
and sometimes Pug. We had a great, sleepy- 
hollow chair in the library, and when he saw 
me coming he would always move way up in 
one corner of it sufficiently to make room for 
me, and I would squeeze into it beside him. 
This time the sleepy-hollow seemed hardly 
big enough for father himself. 

" Elizabeth," he went on to say, '' I am tired 
of this rabble of young men about my prem- 
ises, and I want to say that I am disappointed 
in you that you allow it. No true woman who 



THE PARSON'S BUTTERFLY 103 

does not wish to marry allows a young man, 
to say nothing of several young men, to pay 
her such marked attentions." 

" But I do wish to marry, daddy dear," I 
said. " I wish to very much — only I don't 
know which one." 

^^Then it's high time you did," snapped 
father like a disgruntled alligator. He actually 
did snap, for the first time in his whole lovely 
life. And then he suggested, still snapping, 
that we should go over the pros and cons right 
then and there and have the matter decided. 
I told father as well as I could what I thought 
about each one of the ^^ candidates," but I was 
so frightened at the alligator phase in him that 
I think I must have made queer work of it, 
for I had not gone far before father leaned 
back in his chair and laughed until the tears 
ran down his cheeks. 

^^You poor little thing!" he said, as soon 
as he could speak; ^^ come here." 

When I was in my old place, with father's 
arm around me, I told him just how it was: 
that I was afraid I would have to marry Teddy 
in the end, unless I married somebody else 



I04 THE PARSON'S BUTTERFLY 

first. I was quite sure that would be the best 
possible way, for it would put a stop to the 
whole thing once for all. When I was mar- 
ried to an everyday man it would be awfully 
wrong, after that, to even give so much as a 
single thought to being a minister's wife. 

Father said it most certainly would be a 
deadly sin, but that he hoped he would not 
have to resort to such extreme measures. He 
sat thinking for a few minutes and then he 
said: "Pug, I 'm going to take you to Europe 
next month — your mother and you. We '11 
go there, and we '11 stay there till your ideas 
clear up a little. In the mean time I '11 have 
words with the Reverend Mr. McFarland." 

Father did have words with Teddy — kind, 
considerate words, as I happen to know. 
Nevertheless, he put it plainly to him that it 
would wreck not only my life, but his own, 
for him to marry me. I was no more fitted to 
help run a church than I was to help run a 
dredging-machine, he told him. He would ad- 
vise him, even more for his own sake than 
for mine, to forget me. Teddy asked father if 
he thought he could forget me, which made 



THE PARSON'S BUTTERFLY 105 

father's excellent arguments weak in the 
knees. 

Father and mother and I went to Europe, 
as father had planned, and John Sparks went 
with us as courier. If one wants to see John 
Sparks in his full glory just let him loose on 
the continent of Europe. 

We went to Europe, and we came back 
again. That is quite enough to say about that 
journey. There was no such thing as losing 
that harpoon. The line, or whatever it is that 
sailors call it, that was attached to it paid out 
like the Atlantic cable and the Continental 
telegraph combined. 



CHAPTER II 

THE first of the " candidates '' reappeared 
the very night after our return. Just as 
he was making his adieus, about ten o'clock, 
I think it was, he remarked casually: ^^ Oh, 
by the way, did you hear about the accident 
this afternoon? The Reverend Mr. McFar- 
land got into a free fight down in the slums, 
and he 's done for, they think. There was a 
big, rough fellow rushing around loose down 
there with a pistol. He was banging right 
and left into doors and windows, and con- 
ducting himself generally like a Gatling gun 
on a lark. The Reverend Theodore marched 
up and collared him and gave him a drubbing 
that was neater than a prize fight. He did n't 
know, and there did n't anybody else know, 
until it was all over, that he 'd been shot. 
They took him to the hospital. All the doc- 
tors in town are there and they've sent oflF 
for more. They don't think he '11 pull through 
the night, though." 



THE PARSON'S BUTTERFLY 107 

I do not know how I looked or what I did 
that made the " candidate '' seize his hat and 
rush off to leave me alone. He 'd have been 
shot himself rather than have done it, if he 'd 
known. The next I really remember I was 
all in a heap on the floor by the side of my 
bed with my head buried in one of the pil- 
lows. I had a very bad quarter of an hour 
just then — very bad indeed. I deserved it. I 
have a funny little clump of gray hair way in 
under my coil where nobody sees it but my- 
self. I feel sure it was that quarter of an hour 
that did it. If Teddy had died that night I 
presume all my hair would have turned gray. 
It would n't have mattered, though, if it had 
turned a bright solferino pink, for I should 
have gone straight into a sisterhood and worn 
one of those headdresses that would have 
covered it all up. 

By the end of that quarter of an hour I 
knew that it was to Teddy, dead or alive, 
that I belonged. If only it were not too late 
to tell him so! I tore down my long opera 
cloak from the nail in the closet. I remember 
thinking as I tore it down what good times 



io8 THE PARSON'S BUTTERFLY 

that cloak had seen, and now it was going to 
see such a bad one. 

I had on a quaint dinner-gown and a high 
comb in my hair. It was grandmother's comb. 
Teddy had told me once that I looked like an 
old miniature with that comb on and in that 
gown, and now Teddy would never tell me 
anything nice again. I would have to live out 
all my days and never hear Teddy's voice 
again. I did not stop for anything on my head 
but the comb. There must be much warmth 
in a comb, I remember thinking, if it were 
only big enough. 

I rather think I slid down the banisters. It 
was the quickest way, and I knew how. That 
very morning Jack had dared me to do it once 
more before I grew up, and I did it. I pulled 
father's coat and hat out of the hall closet, and 
mother's golf cape that was hanging there. 
Father and mother were sitting over the li- 
brary fire. 

" Hurry, father, for heaven's sake, hurry! " 
I said; "Teddy is dying, and I love him. 
Here 's your coat, father, and here 's mother's 
cape: mother has got to come, too." 



THE PARSON'S BUTTERFLY 109 

I buttoned father's coat, and jammed his hat 
down over his ears so violently that I came 
near slicing them off close to his head. Father 
says that he has n't dared trust himself out 
with them in rough weather since. He is con- 
vinced they are loose at the roots. 

^^My dear child/' said father, ^Svait a mo- 
ment and I '11 send for Patrick; we must have 
the horses — " 

^^No, we mustn't!" I said. ^^We can't 
wait. You 've got to run, father; and mother 's 
got to run, too." 

I pulled them along after me out on to the 
sidewalk. They took hold of hands and how 
they did run — those two! 

Father says he felt as though he and mother 
were sprinting along in the wake of a ghost. 
My gray opera cloak and my white dress ap- 
peared to float out behind me to the distance 
of a rod or two, and my hair had fallen down 
and was floating, too, and I was carrying the 
comb up over my head. I had a dim idea that 
it would still be a protection. 

When we came to the hospital they were 
not going to let me see Teddy, but I told them 



no THE PARSON'S BUTTERFLY 

I was engaged to him, and then they did. I 
had not known it myself till just then, but that 
was no matter. When the doctors and the 
nurses who were standing over Teddy saw me 
coming they went out into the corridor. They 
seemed to understand. Old Dr. Jones told 
father that he thought it was Ophelia hunting 
for the mad ward. Mother and father stayed 
out in the corridor, too. 

Teddy was in a stupor and they thought 
that he would wake up in the next world. I 
knelt down by the cot with my face close to 
his, and I said, " Teddy! '' but he did not hear 
me, so I said, " Teddy! '^ again, and still he did 
not hear. Then I said, "Teddy, dear!" He 
opened his eyes and looked at me, very dazed 
and wondering at first, and then he smiled. I 
never saw an archangel smile, but if ever any- 
thing so excruciatingly funny should happen 
as to make one do it I feel sure he would look 
much as Teddy did then. 

" Teddy,'' I said, " I wanted to tell you that 
I am engaged to you. I always was. Please 
get well and marry me, Teddy. I '11 be such 
a good minister's wife, if you only will ! You 



THE PARSON'S BUTTERFLY m 

can teach me^ Teddy^ and I '11 try so hard to 
learn. Won't you please get well, Teddy? " 

Teddy did get well. It seems he had not 
cared about it till I asked him, and there 's 
a great deal in caring. When he was strong 
enough at last to come to see me I would not 
see him. I simply could not, I was so dread- 
fully ashamed of what I had done. Only to 
think of making up a family party and run- 
ning half a mile with your hair down your 
back to ask a man to give up going to heaven 
for the present to marry you ! It was simply 
intolerable in the remembrance. 

About that time mother asked me if I could 
not do my hair a little more carefully. It had 
such a distrait, theatrical appearance. I did 
not tell mother that I had been doing it by 
dead reckoning, for I had not looked in the 
glass for weeks. I was so ashamed to look 
myself in the face. I used to cover up the mir- 
ror in my room when I was alone, for fear I 
would catch sight of a woman who had done a 
thing like that. 

Teddy besought and pleaded with me by let- 
ter to see him, but I felt that I could never look 



112 THE PARSON'S BUTTERFLY 

him in the face again any more than I could 
myself. I should have to throw a cloth over 
him, just the way I did over the mirror, so what 
would be the good? I think I never should 
have seen him again to this day if mother had 
not sent me down to the library once when 
she knew he was there and when I did not 
know that he was. I did not discover him 
until it was too late. It was not many minutes 
after I did before I had promised him that the 
only thing I would ever be ashamed of again 
would be of making him miserable. 



CHAPTER III 

SIX months after that Teddy and I were 
married. Mother tried to reason Teddy 
into waiting until I was twent}^ She wanted 
to teach me all sorts of practical matters, and 
my character was still so unformed. Teddy 
told her that he could conceive of no greater 
happiness than to mould it after his own ideals. 
Poor Teddy! I wonder, if he had it to do over 
again, if he would have waited. 

All those six months the old worry about 
being a minister's wife never troubled me. 
Teddy's big self filled all the doorway of the 
future. I could see nothing beyond him. I 
was so busy, too, cumulatively busy, until the 
last week came, when with the bridesmaids' 
dinner and all the other festivities I could no 
more have taken time for meditation than I 
could have sat down in a rocking-chair to 
think, in the rapids above Niagara. 

It is a grave question whether John Sparks 
or I took the livelier interest in the wedding 



114 THE PARSON'S BUTTERFLY 

gifts. John took sole charge of them^ and the 
circle of our friends and acquaintances was 
divided by him ever after into two classes — 
those who, as he considered, had done well 
by me, and those who, in his opinion, might 
have done better. John had two distinct man- 
ners, both entirely irreproachable and above 
criticism. One of them, however, by reason 
of a subtle something, convicted its recipient 
of being the scum of the earth; the other made 
him feel like a member of the Royal family. 
The great-aunt who sent me for my wedding 
gift an interest in her prayers, had a rich taste 
of the former when she came to the wedding. 
On the other hand, when father's English 
cousin, the one who had inherited the old 
family place, came over for the wedding, he 
told father that never in any English household 
had he received the absolutely faultless serv- 
ice that he had from John. He had sent me 
a marvelous old salver right out of the family 
safe. It had heraldic designs, and boars' heads, 
with ruby eyes, for handles. John felt that he 
must see to it that such right-mindedness re- 
ceived its reward in this life. John never 



THE PARSON'S BUTTERFLY 115 

would trust that salver to the safe. He slept 
with it under his pillow. Father said if ever 
he were murdered in cold blood for it he should 
have, in sheer poetic justice, to let him have 
it for a majestic coffin-plate. 

It was hard to know just what acknowledg- 
ment to make to the spiritually minded great- 
aunt. All I could think of to say was that I 
hoped I should earn her prajxrs, which had 
rather a dubious sound. 

The morning of my wedding day I wak- 
ened very early, and the first thing I did was 
to hop into my dressing-gown and slippers 
and rush into my little sitting-room to see 
what the weather was going to be. The sky 
was black and lowering from horizon to hori- 
zon. Little snowflakes drove across the lawn 
like frightened birds. The wind moaned in 
the chimney, and outside a rose vine trembled 
against the wall as though it were shivering. 

I think it must have been because of that 
black sky — that seemed to speak of wrath 
and dreariness to come — that without the least 
warning the dread of the solemn life I had 
chosen, that had lain dormant for months, came 



ii6 THE PARSON'S BUTTERFLY 

back upon me with terrific force. I sank down 
right where I was on the cold wood floor in 
a panic of fear. I rocked myself back and forth 
and cried right out loud, for there was n't any- 
body to hear : " Oh, I can't do it ! I can't do it ! " 
My teeth were rattling all the while like cas- 
tanets, and great waves of coldness like bil- 
lows of ice water ran over me. 

Hannah found me there, ever so long after, 
still shaking and shivering. She ran for 
mother, and they lit the open fire and turned 
on the steam, and Bridget, whom mother had 
rung for, came hurrying in with probably the 
strongest cup of coffee that ever was made, 
and Hannah came running after her with 
blankets. Mother, God bless her! lifted me 
right up into her lap before the fire and 
wrapped the blankets all around me, with my 
own pink eiderdown coverlid on top of every- 
thing. All the while I was saying, over and 
over again, just like a little machine that was 
out of order and could not stop: " Oh, I can't 
do it! I can't do it! I can't do it!" Then I 
began to beg mother to send the presents 
back, and to tell the people when they came 



THE PARSON'S BUTTERFLY 117 

that there was n't going to be any wedding 
that day; and to tell Teddy I was awfully 
sorry; I would never marry anybody else, but 
I just could not marry a big church full of 
strange people. It wasn't any use! 

Mother hushed me and patted me like a 
baby, and then when I grew a little quiet and 
stopped begging for my life she spoke to me 
as only mothers know how to speak. 

I was so desperate in the cold gray dawn 
of that morning that if it had not been for 
mother holding me firm and quiet with her 
strong, good sense till the spasm was over I 
am afraid that when John Sparks came down- 
stairs he would have found the front door 
open and tracks in the snow, and a little hole 
just my size in the ice over the black water 
of the pond at the foot of the lawn, and Teddy 
would have been disgraced and his heart 
broken. And as for me, I suppose I would 
have had to sit by the window up in heaven 
and watch the rack and ruin I had made with- 
out being able to lift a finger to help it. 

Mother did not try for an instant to con- 
vince me that there was nothing to dread. 



ii8 THE PARSON'S BUTTERFLY 

But she told me that when one loved as she 
knew I loved Teddy it was irrevocable. My 
life might be hard with him^ but without him 
it would be infinitely harder. I would learn, 
God helping me, in time, that the only abid- 
ing joy of loving was sacrificing. I did not 
really understand then all that mother meant, 
but the very sound of her voice quieted me. 
I went to sleep, and mother laid me down, and 
I slept and I slept till I nearly slept over the 
wedding. Once when I was a little girl and 
father was taking me to a wedding to which 
mother had to give up going because of a 
raging headache I tiptoed in and kissed her, 
and I whispered: ^^ Never mind, mother; 
when I 'm married you shall go and I '11 
stay at home.'' It came ever so near being 
that way this time. It was eleven o'clock when 
mother awakened me. 

I had my breakfast in my daintiest break- 
fast-gown. It was a short-waisted, Kate 
Greenaway effect of soft white silk with a 
big pale-green sash. I could always wear 
that style of thing that makes big girls look 
like bed-bolsters, but the big girls get their 



THE PARSON'S BUTTERFLY 119 

innings in that they can wear things that I 
do not look well in because I do not look at 
all — you cannot see me. Mother let Teddy 
bring my breakfast up on a tray. Teddy was 
quite willing to do so, and he was even a lit- 
tle bit nicer than he ever had been. iVnd the 
sun had come out, and the clouds had all 
rolled away somewhere, — into the black 
pond, perhaps, in place of me, — and that 
dreadful time in the gray morning seemed 
nothing but a very, very horrible dream. 

Poor old John Sparks ! When he brought up 
fresh toast a big tear fell right out of his cast- 
iron countenance on to his coat sleeve. He 
looked down, and looked around, and looked 
up and scanned the ceiling, and then de- 
livered himself of the apparently irrelevant 
remark that the tank must have burst. 

Alexander the Great — Sandy we call him 
for short — my big, beautiful St. Bernard, did 
not take the situation so much to heart as 
John, because he knew he was going with 
me. Father said he wanted me to take him 
because it would be bad enough for him to 
miss me himself, without having Sandy moon- 



I20 THE PARSON'S BUTTERFLY 

ing around, too. Nevertheless, as he sat on 
his huge haunches beside Teddy, with his 
nose taking up nearly the whole of the tiny 
breakfast-table, he had the look of one whc 
was hoping against hope that all things would 
work together for good. 

The wedding was a great success in every 
particular save that I forgot and wore my big 
fur boots up the aisle over my slippers — and 
my slippers were so charming, made of the 
satin of my gown with diamond buckles that 
Great - great - grandfather Buckingham had 
worn with his knee-breeches. There is a 
grand old hymn that says : — 

'' The bride eyes not her garments, 
But her dear bridegroom's face." 

It is a mercy it works that way, for if I had 
caught sight of those boots and had known I 
had to go clomping down the aisle in them the 
way I had come clomping up I should have 
been prostrated on the spot. I suppose the ^^Lo- 
hengrin '' march drowned the sound of them. 
As a matter of fact, it was not Teddy's face 
at all that my attention was centered upon 



THE PARSON'S BUTTERFLY 121 

during the service. I never told any one but 
mother, I was so ashamed, but it was the 
rector's nose. I had seen it often enough be- 
fore, if that were all, but it was certainly a 
most peculiar shape. There were ins and 
outs in its conformation entirely foreign to 
the average nose. Jack and I used to amuse 
ourselves Sunday afternoons writing poetry 
about it until father found us out and re- 
proved us. Father could never really reprove, 
but he made an effort at it that time. It was a 
judgment on me that all through that beauti- 
ful, solemn time when I wanted to be con- 
secrating my life to Teddy one of Jack's mis- 
erable doggerels was running in my mind the 
whole time: — 

'' There was a dear rector religious, 
Whose nose was so truly prodigious, 

That he gulped back the tears, as he said, 
' Had it grown on the curate, instead, 
I would not have deemed it so hid-jeous ! ' " 

What mother always said to Jack and me 
about being sacrilegious was true — that it 
would rob us sooner or later of so much that 
was sweet and helpful that we must avoid it. 



122 THE PARSON'S BUTTERFLY 

Mother was very gentle with me about this 
particular instance. She said it was just my 
nerves that had to hold on to something to 
steady themselves, and it happened to be the 
wrong thing. She said she thought anyway 
it was largely association of ideas, for I tried 
my best to hold on to it when I was christened. 
Mother said, also, that at grandpapa's funeral, 
when she was just about my age, there was a 
man sat just across the room from her and he 
had St. Vitus' dance in his nose, and it moved 
all over his face, and she said she watched 
him until she went into hysterics, and every- 
body thought it was so touching that so young 
a person should grieve so violently for an aged 
relative. Mother said of course she did feel 
very sad about grandpapa, but she never 
should have taken that way of showing it. 

Dear little mother! She is never really 
comfortable until she convinces me that she 
was worse than I in every particular. The 
truth of the matter is, I am not worthy to tie 
her shoe-latchet. 



CHAPTER IV 

I HAVE forgotten to say that Teddy had 
not preached since he was shot. Perhaps 
that was one reason why ever3'thing had gone 
so beautifully with us those six months. He 
was going to begin again, though, as soon as 
we were married. He had accepted a call to 
a growing church in a big, overgrown manu- 
facturing village in Vermont — three hundred 
miles from home, I think it was. It used to 
seem three hundred thousand when I wanted 
mother very badly. Mother went out before 
our marriage to help Teddy select a home 
and make it ready. When she came back she 
looked a little sober. Mother felt, I think, that 
love in a cottage is one thing, but love in a 
big, barren, half-heated barrack is another. 

The trouble was that very little money was 
invested in houses to rent except for the mill 
hands. Most people built their own. The only 
home we could find at all belonged to one of 
the mill owners who was temporarily absent, 



124 THE PARSON'S BUTTERFLY 

and the only condition upon which he would 
lease it, in view of the fact that some time he 
would come again to his own, was that we 
should not make the slightest change, and 
that whatever we did we should not lay un- 
holy hands upon his wall decorations. 

Oh, but that was a dreary home! The hall- 
way seemed designed — as some good people 
think this world was — entirely to get out of. 
The parlor, like Barbara Allen's coffin, was 
" long and narrer.'' Its walls were hard fin- 
ished of a most depressing shade of lavender. 
The landlord set great store by his hard finish 
because it would wash. How often I have 
thought I would die happy if I could see him 
at it. Behind this winsome apartment of state 
was a double sitting-room, connected with 
folding doors of brown, trimmed with sal- 
mon. 

The taste of the decorator culminated, how- 
ever, in the dining-room. This was frescoed 
in pillars that, starting at the mopboard, 
climbed in safety to the cornice, where, with- 
out any warning whatever, they burst and 
flowed out over the ceiling in a volcanic 



THE PARSON'S BUTTERFLY 125 

eruption of scrolls and flourishes. On every 
available point of these flourishes there were 
robin redbreasts roosting. There must have 
been forty of them in all. There v^ere also 
butterflies, but the robin redbreasts were so 
much the more striking feature that we al- 
ways spoke of the apartment as the aviary. 
It was a chamber of horrors. 

Once when Jack came to visit us we shut 
all the doors and shot at those robins with 
tiny blunt arrows that Jack had spent a whole 
morning in fashioning, because he held that 
I was in need of innocent diversion. The idea 
was to see who could hit the most birds in a 
given length of time, and if you hit them 
square in the crop it counted extra. While 
we were in the midst of it the maid ushered 
in Deacon Potter. We were quite too fond of 
him to stand in awe of him, so we made him 
keep tally. We grew so excited over it — the 
deacon and all — that we never noticed that 
Teddy had come in and was watching us with 
the most bewildered expression. Good old 
Teddy! It was a surprise to him for just a 
minute to find his dear wife shooting birds 



126 THE PARSON'S BUTTERFLY 

on the dining-room ceilings and his most 
valued deacon keeping the score. 

Under the aviary and the rest of the par- 
sonage a huge black cellar ramified like a coal 
mine. It was the cook's standing excuse when 
the meals were late that she was lost in the 
cellar. 

There was a furnace in this cellar. Teddy 
used to say, in extenuation of it^ that the no- 
blest success was persevering failure. All the 
same, we took cold when we sat with our 
backs to the registers. Teddy used to break- 
fast in his ulster and I in my furs. Teddy 
asked me once, laughingly, why I watched 
him so at breakfast. It was because I was 
afraid that between the decorations of the 
breakfast-room and the temperature I would 
cry if I lost sight for an instant of the fact that 
I had Teddy. 

I did all I could, to be sure, to transform 
the home with my lovely wedding gifts, rugs 
and tapestries, and pictures and bric-a-brac, 
and silver, but somehow they had the effect 
of a loan collection. They did not fit into their 
surroundings and I could not make them. 



THE PARSON'S BUTTERFLY 127 

Upstairs in the parsonage, aside from my 
sitting-room and bedroom, there were two or 
three habitable sleeping-rooms, and, beyond 
them, waste frozen regions of storerooms and 
attic. 

What with the begrimed vaults in the cellar 
and the waste rooms in the attic I was so 
nervous when Teddy was out of an evening 
that I used to go everywhere with him that 
I possibly could. It was rather hard on the 
maids to be left so much by themselves, but 
then they could give up their situations if they 
became unbearable, and I could not. 

Mother respected our agreement with the 
landlord perfectly in arranging the house until 
it came to my little sitting-room and bed- 
room. There she circumvented him. She ran 
brass rods along the cornices, and hung soft, 
dainty sateens down from them over the walls, 
and draped the windows and covered the 
chairs and couches and my dressing-table 
with the same. The furniture was creamy 
white, and the rug a soft dull green, and I had 
an old stove with a pipe that ran into the fire- 
place taken out, and had great brass andirons, 



128 THE PARSON'S BUTTERFLY 

that were one of my wedding gifts^ put in, and 
I had my little inlaid desk, and all my books 
in white shelves on the wall. 

Sandy loved my little sitting-room as much 
as I did. Just at first I thought I would have 
to put him out on account of his hairs, but I 
matched him to a big fur rug. 

Sandy felt just as I did, that this room was 
a little slice from out of the old life. When I 
was frightened and confused I always took 
refuge in it, and found myself again, as it 
were. I could always be just my old self in 
that room. I was never trying to be anybody 
else in it, the way I was outside. I think Teddy 
must have liked me best, way down in his 
heart, when I was just myself, because he 
used to make a straight line for that little 
room whenever he came in from his work. 
He would come up the stairs three steps at a 
time, and by and by he fell into the way of 
writing his discourses at my little desk. I 
could always tell whether his serinons were 
written in his big, cold study at the church 
or at my desk. If they were written in his 
study they were sure to have a tinge, just a 



THE PARSON'S BUTTERFLY 129 

tinge, of the old lady's remark that " the Uni- 
versalists believed that all the world is going 
to be saved, but we Presbyterians hope for 
better things''; whereas if they were written 
at my desk the firelight and the warm glow 
from the curtains sank into them and tempered 
the outlook for us all. 

After the services and the duties for the 
day were over — not but that Teddy would 
have sat up all night to do good to his peo- 
ple, only his people themselves would n't sit 
up to be done good to — I used to put Teddy 
in a big restful armchair by my fire, and I 
would sit on one arm of it, and Sandy would 
come and lay his big head on the other, and 
then I would work as hard as ever I could to 
entertain Teddy, until the solemn, weary look 
went out of his eyes. As soon as I had made 
him laugh — one of his big, hearty, infectious 
laughs — I knew the burden of the world had 
rolled off, and the dear old Teddy that I loved 
had risen from under it. 

I often used to give him a nice little chafing- 
dish supper by my fire after the evening's 
work was done. Some authorities say that it 



I30 THE PARSON'S BUTTERFLY 

is well to eat late at night because it draws 
the circulation away from the brain. I thought 
it drew it away from Teddy's conscience in 
just the same way. Anyway, we were both 
hungry, as we had to have a noonday dinner 
and a light supper. How I abhorred that 
midday dinner! It is so hard to eat roast beef 
in the realistic light of noonday, especially if 
what one sees from the window, when one is 
trying to, is a neighbor's back yard, and a 
board fence, and eaves that are dripping, drip- 
ping, drearily dripping with the melting snow, 
and a hired boy in a muffler carrying two 
pails from a back door to a barn. I abhorred 
the light supper almost as deeply, but every- 
body else had it, and when I suggested a re- 
versal of the order of things the cook suggested 
going into the mill, and I had to succumb. 
That was the weapon of every maid in the 
town, and it was a mighty one. 

It seemed so queer, too, not to dress for 
dinner, but of course I could not in the mid- 
dle of the day in that freezing aviary. I used 
to be afraid the robins would grow numb and 
fall off their perches into the soup-tureen. It 



THE PARSON'S BUTTERFLY 131 

hardly seemed worth while, either, to dress 
for cold tongue and picked-up codfish and 
such other depressing makeshifts as the cook 
felt it to be within the scope of her intentions 
to give us after dark. Instead, I put on my 
very prettiest gowns for Teddy's and my noc- 
turnal spreads. Teddy liked to have me, and 
I think Sandy did, too. 

Teddy and I were always threatening to do 
improving reading in those evening hours, 
but we never opened a book. We just talked, 
and talked, and talked, and Sandy thumped 
on the floor with his tail when Teddy laughed. 
Sometimes, too, we would sit and look into 
the fire without saying a word for the longest 
time. Teddy would just have my hand in his 
big one. Then Sandy would put up his paw 
to be held, with such a lackadaisical look on 
his great honest face that Teddy would shout 
with laughter, and then say: "It's no use, old 
fellow ! You 're not in it this time." 



CHAPTER V 

BEING happier and happier with Teddy 
every day, the way I was, could not blind 
me to the fact that I was proving even more 
of a failure as a minister's wife than I had 
feared. The less said about that first winter 
the better. It was a chapter of mistakes that 
were too sad to be amusing. The harder I 
tried to keep the promises I had made to 
Teddy in the hospital, to learn to help him, 
the more mistakes I seemed to make. To be- 
gin with, I simply could not keep awake in 
prayer-meeting, though I went regularly with 
Teddy. 

At home I had a little way, that everybody 
had grown used to, of running into the library 
once or twice in an evening and dropping 
down on father's big leather couch and sleep- 
ing with all my might for five or ten minutes. 
Whoever found me there would pull the big 
tiger skin up over me, and if it were father he 
would lean over and kiss my hair. I used to 



THE PARSON'S BUTTERFLY 133 

half know when he did. Old Doctor Jones 
told mother that it was my highly wrought 
nervous organization that found its own anti- 
dote in those sudden sleepy times. Now it 
seemed that I would have to find an antidote 
for the antidote, for I simply could not dis- 
grace Teddy by nodding up on the front seat 
in the face and eyes of the whole congrega- 
tion. An unawakened soul was one thing. 
That you could keep to yourself, but an una- 
wakened body was liable to speak for itself 
at any moment. I told Teddy I must either 
take an alarm clock in my pocket, set to go 
off in the midst of Brother Peters's remarks, 
or else, if worst came to worst, I thought he 
would have to have a little electric battery 
under the pulpit connected with my place and 
turn it on once in so often. He could have a 
button in the floor that he could step on with- 
out anybody being the wiser. 

Pending the time when Teddy should rouse 
to the situation, I took peppers to church in 
my handkerchief. When the sleepiness grew 
agonizing I would take a big, brave bite. 
Teddy's people must have thought I was in 



134 THE PARSON'S BUTTERFLY 

chronic spiritual distress, for I could not help 
the tears running down my cheeks like rivers. 

Iwent to the woman's missionary meeting, 
and they asked me to make remarks, and I 
did, and everybody smiled, and they never 
asked me to address them again. Instead, they 
had me hold the baby of a good sister while 
she made remarks. The baby was three weeks 
old and very squirming when I commenced 
with it, but the good sister had to bring it or 
stay at home. 

I also turned one of my bonnets hind side 
foremost and retrimmed it that winter be- 
cause that same sister had turned hers and 
given the price of a new one to the Armeni- 
ans. Teddy did not like the look of me in it at 
all, and I gave it to the cook, and she gave it 
back to me because she said her young man, 
who was n't one to be trifled with, had quar- 
reled with her on account of it. He thought, 
by the set of it on her head, that she was 
running away from him when she was com- 
ing to meet him. I gave her the price of a 
new one on the spot, and had less than ever to 
give to the heathen in the end. 



THE PARSON'S BUTTERFLY 135 

Perhaps the worst mistake of all that I 
made was when on Teddy's birthday I in- 
vited fifteen pillars of the church to tea, with 
their wives, to surprise him. I thought he 
would be so pleased. I wrote to mother to 
ask her what I should give them to eat, and 
mother sent me a dainty menu with Bridget's, 
our old cook, directions for the same, copied 
exactly as they fell from her lips. 

I had little tables all about the room with 
my finest linen upon them, and with beauti- 
ful flowers in the center of each. I also had 
dainty boutonnieres. I even studied what 
color would be most becoming to the recipi- 
ent. To the black-haired pillar I gave a red 
boutonnierey and to the blond-haired, blue, 
and to Brother Jones, who had a flowing 
snow-white beard, I gave a bunch of purple 
violets. He was too aesthetic for words with 
them peeping coquettishly in and out be- 
tween the silver strands. Sandy was deco- 
rated, too. He had a bow as big as an infant's 
sash, and he sat up at the head of the stairs, 
and to every guest who arrived he would 
give one joyous, cordial bark and one thump 



136 THE PARSON'S BUTTERFLY 

of his tail against the mopboard — one bark 
and one thump to each. Sandy had an ex- 
quisite sense of fitness. However cordial he 
felt he never would have been vociferous. 

Teddy came in and greeted his guests with 
some surprise and more distress depicted upon 
his countenance. My heart went down like a 
stone, and Sandy's tail hung between his legs. 
The first opportunity that offered Teddy said 
to me in an anxious tone: — 

" My dear, where are the rest of the dea- 
cons? '' 

"Why, I don't know, Teddy. Howshouldl?'' 

" Did n't you ask them all, dear? " 

" Why, no, Teddy, I just asked the people 
I thought you liked the best. I could n't pos- 
sibly have them all." 

" Child alive! " said Teddy, " we shall have 
to move on. The town won't hold us." 

Teddy was so sorry, the minute he saw the 
absolutely woe-begone look that I could n't 
keep out of my face, that he was all love and 
remorse, and told me not to mind in the least; 
it would all come out right. I did mind, 
though, horribly, and Sandy minded, too, on 



THE PARSON'S BUTTERFLY 137 

his own account as well as on mine, when it 
was all over, because the cook had given him 
lobster a la Neuburg to eat, and it had, as 
she expressed it, "gone agin him.'' All the 
same, it was awfully good, and the pillars en- 
joyed it. 

I used to write dear little mother all about 
my honest endeavors brought to contempt. 
Really, sometimes it seemed as though it were 
all there was to write about. Mother never 
once said, "I told you so." She tried to give 
me the best advice she could. The one thing 
she insisted upon in every letter was that I 
must always have a smile and a sympathetic 
word for everybody. This was not such a 
happy world, mother said, but that people 
would forgive a great deal to any one who had 
the power to lift the load from their hearts for 
an instant in passing. 

Sometimes, right in the midst of my most 
earnest-minded efforts to fit into my new life, 
a perfectly insane longing to go to a ball again 
and dance till daylight would come over me. 
I had to ask my girl friends at home to please 
not tell me very much about the good times 



138 THE PARSON'S BUTTERFLY 

when they wrote because I did not think it 
was good for me. For instance, if they had been 
to five balls and three dinners and to the opera 
all in one week, and I had been to two prayer- 
meetings and a funeral and a church sociable 
in the same length of time, I used to feel the 
difference. I remember calculating once if I 
went to a funeral every week for the rest of 
my life how many I would have gone to, all 
told, in the end. In one year I would have 
been to fifty-two, and in forty years, if I lived 
so long, I would have attended two thousand 
and eighty. In my wild despair over the out- 
look I did not stop to reflect that the church 
could not possibly furnish the most important 
requisite for so many. 

When these sudden, unregenerate frenzies 
would come over me, I would go up to the 
big Paris packing-trunk where my bridal veil 
was kept, and take it out and throw it over 
my head and try to fancy that it set me apart 
from the world just as rigorously as the con- 
vent veils set the nuns apart. Only, Teddy 
was thrown in with my consecration, and the 
nuns had no Teddies. 



THE PARSON'S BUTTERFLY 139 

Teddy really complicated the situation very 
much because it did not seem to be the Dor- 
cas virtues that he really liked best in me, and 
still it was the Dorcas virtues that for love of 
hiin I must acquire. 

Sometimes when I had made particularly 
bad mistakes, and Teddy had smiled with his 
lips but not with his eyes, I would lie awake 
all night wondering whether he would ever 
come to wish that when he began to die that 
time in the hospital, he had gone right on and 
finished. When morning came after those 
wide-eyed vigils I would not be able to eat 
any breakfast, not even when Teddy peered 
over the coffee-urn at my place as solemnly 
as though he had grounds for believing that 
I was turning from my last refection upon 
earth. Nobody who has not tried it can pos- 
sibly know what it is to wake up morning 
after morning to a life work that one cannot 
master. It is one thing to whine over uncon- 
genial employment and quite another to be 
heartsick over the impossible. 

When I had had a breakfastless morning 
Teddy would stop at the doctor's on his way 



I40 THE PARSON'S BUTTERFLY 

to the study, and the doctor would come up 
and give me tiny little sugar pills for the edi- 
fication of my liver, and the minute he was 
gone I would feed them to Sandy. Sandy 
grew disgustingly robust that winter with so 
much medical attention. 

Sandy was a great comfort to me in those 
days because his moral level was not higher 
than my own. Deacon Potter — the one who 
kept the score when Jack and I shot the robins 
— was the only other living creature that gave 
me a sustaining fellow-feeling. It was through 
Sister Green that we discovered our affinity. 
Sister Green is certainly the fattest woman I 
ever beheld. I measured her arm once with 
my eye, section by section, just the way people 
say the big trees in the Yosemite should be 
measured to give one a realizing sense of their 
proportions. It was six inches around a quar- 
ter of it, so of course by unevadable law it 
must have been two feet around the whole. 

One evening in prayer-meeting she strug- 
gled to her feet and gasped out with ecstatic 
fervor, "Oh, to be nothin', nothinM" The 
magnitude of the change, if she should be, 



THE PARSON'S BUTTERFLY 141 

struck me so forcibly that I almost laughed 
outright. I looked at Teddy and his expres- 
sion was rapt and saint-like; then I glanced 
along the rows of good brethren and sisters, 
and every face was piously sympathetic. Then 
I caught Deacon Potter's eyes, and they were 
fairly dancing out of his head, though his 
mouth was as set as if he were in the grip of 
lockjaw. From that moment on there was 
a freemasonry between us that nothing ever 
changed. If I had murdered the sexton and 
hidden him under the pulpit stairs I have 
faith that Deacon Potter would have stood 
by me, and would have held my hand while 
I was being hanged, if it would have helped 
me any. 



CHAPTER VI 

I WAS so glad when the long, cold, worried 
winter melted into spring, and the lilac- 
bush that had been knocking with its icy 
hands at the aviary window all winter grew 
green and tender, and, now being quite con- 
tent to stay where it was, stopped its insistent 
tapping. I was glad, for it seemed to me that 
the condition of anything that wanted to get 
into the aviary must be pitiful indeed. 

Alas! for the poor lilac-bush! When the 
maid was washing the aviary window she 
slipped from the very top of the stepladder 
and sat down with a crash right into the mid- 
dle of its tender spring aspirations. The last 
state of that bush was worse than the first. 

With the first mild days of spring Teddy 
bought a horse, partly because I was a trifle 
thin from my worries and he thought it would 
do me good to drive all over the beautiful 
country roads, and partly because a bankrupt 
church member wanted to sell one. Teddy's 



THE PARSON'S BUTTERFLY 143 

taste in horses was trained and accurate, and 
I think Sapphira was a great cross to his car- 
nal man, particularly when Jack was visiting 
us; for Jack would make eyes at him from 
the sidewalk whenever he met him jogging 
along behind her, especially if Teddy had a 
deacon on the seat beside him and was pow- 
erless to make any demonstration in return. 
We called the horse Sapphira because she 
was so deceptive. She was always trying to 
make us believe that she was getting over 
the ground when she really was not at all. 
She deceived every one else in the same way, 
and we were forever being run into by vehi- 
cles in the rear whose drivers had a right to 
believe that in the natural order of things we 
would be out of their way, when we were 
not. 

Sandy used to count — I know he did — 
how many times he could circle around our 
equipage and still keep up with it. Sandy 
never trusted Sapphira. He felt that Sapphira 
had a latent bump of indiscretion, and be- 
tween his pirouettings he stood ready to jump 
at the bridle in case Sapphira did anything 



144 THE PARSON'S BUTTERFLY 

rash. His suspicions proved correct in the 
end, for after Teddy sold her to a grocer she 
tried to jump between an electric car and its 
trailer. Personally, she did it, but she scat- 
tered the grocer to the four winds of heaven. 
If she had tried it under my regime it would 
probably have distracted my mind as much 
as it did the grocer's; as it was, those drives 
were almost as propitious a time for medita- 
tion on my shortcomings as the watches of 
the night. 

It was heaven come down to earth when 
the summer followed the spring and Teddy's 
vacation came, — a lovely long one of two 
months. Teddy and I spent every day of it at 
father's big country place — a farm it was, 
really, only it was as beautiful as an English 
estate. Teddy's ministerial shell fell away 
from him completely, and with it all my mis- 
givings, and we were as happy as two children. 

Mother asked Deacon and Mrs. Potter to 
visit us. Father was drawn to the deacon in- 
stinctively from the first, just the way I had 
been, and mother and Mrs. Potter were the 
best of friends. Father and the deacon and 



THE PARSON'S BUTTERFLY 145 

Teddy would often sit out on the porch till 
after midnight, discussing every known sub- 
jectj and I would be blissfully content sitting 
on a low stool between Teddy and father, 
with one hand in Teddy's and one in father's, 
half listening to them and half dreaming what 
a lovely place this earth would be if it were 
only one long, dewy summer night — with 
nothing but fathers and Teddies and moon- 
light. 

The deacon and father and Teddy and I 
played golf every morning. The deacon de- 
veloped into a remarkable player, and every 
morning by sunrise he was out in the wet 
grass practicing in order to undo Teddy later 
in the day. 

John Sparks approved thoroughl}' of the 
deacon, and made life a bed of roses to him 
in consequence, until he gathered from the 
conversation at the table that Teddy was be- 
ing worsted by him, and then he inserted a 
few unostentatious thorns among the roses. 

It was always difficult for John to disen- 
tangle his own individuality from Teddy's. 
Teddy preached one Sunday in a schoolhouse 



146 THE PARSON'S BUTTERFLY 

not far from the farm while we were at home. 
John Sparks attended the service and sat in 
the front row. After it was over he said very 
respectfully to Teddy: ^^Beg pardon, sir, but 
we held the audience very well, I think, sir.'' 

In the afternoons, when it was too hot for 
golf, father would have the four-in-hand out, 
and we would scour the countryside, coming 
home just when the glowing sky was fading 
and the odor of the sweet, damp earth came 
up from under the wheels. Sometimes father 
drove, but oftener Teddy. Teddy was a splen- 
did whip, and I think he forgot souls com- 
pletely when he had the four horses at the 
top of their speed. It was good for him, and 
I do not think the souls were really any the 
worse for a summer of comparative relax- 
ation. They were all overjoyed when we 
went back in the fall, but I thought all the 
same that the backslidden and the impenitent 
looked rested. 

The two-months' vacation seemed only two 
days, we were so happy. Then Teddy went 
back to the church and I to the parsonage. 
Everybody who took part in the first prayer- 



THE PARSON'S BUTTERFLY 147 

meeting after we were home expressed fer- 
vent gratitude that their pastor had been per- 
mitted to return to them refreshed in body 
and in mind, and better fitted to take up the 
duties whereunto he was called. They all 
said ^^ whereunto '' instead of ^^to which.'' 

They mentioned me only indirectly, and I 
was glad because, though I was improved in 
body, I think I was just about the same in 
mind. The hard finish seemed harder than ever, 
in fact, upon a renewal of acquaintance with 
it. It made me happy, though, that everybody 
seemed, in a human, individual way, glad to 
see me. 

Everything went on much as it had the win- 
ter before until Thanksgiving Day. That was 
quite different from anything I had experienced 
the previous winter or any other winter. An 
evangelist came then to pass a day or two with 
Teddy to discuss plans for a series of services 
much later in the winter, and to move the peo- 
ple, if possible, to preparatory exertions. Teddy 
had not favored the coming of this evangelist. 
He did not feel, with the old Oberlin divine, 
that he would rather ^^do his own work than 



148 THE PARSON'S BUTTERFLY 

clean up after evangelists." He had a great 
respect for the work of a judicious evangelist 
at a judicious time^ but he was not perfectly 
in sympathy with this particular one nor with 
his methods. Nevertheless, as a majority of 
the church members wished to invite him, 
Teddy set aside his own feeling in the matter. 

Neither Sandy nor I felt drawn to him. I 
was prejudiced because I found ^^ purgatory'' 
and "damnation'' spelled backward all over 
the dainty blotter on my guest-room desk. 
The evangelist had blotted them on to it from 
the pages of his contemplated discourses. 

I do not know what prejudiced Sandy, but 
unless I watched him he would take the evange- 
list's overshoes all over the house and hide 
them, and then stand and watch with tears of 
sympathy in his eyes while Teddy and the 
evangelist were rushing about for them at the 
last minute, with the congregation presumably 
already in its place in the church. I think that 
Sandy, as well as Teddy, recognized that there 
are odds in evangelists. I do not think he 
would have secreted the overshoes of Mr. 
Moody, and if he had I should have spanked 



THE PARSON'S BUTTERFLY 149 

him with a board. That was the way I had 
always planned to punish Sandy if he should 
need it, but he never did. 

At the suggestion of this evangelist. Thanks- 
giving Day was observed as a day of fasting 
and prayer. Teddy was determined to go with- 
out his dinner, but I urged him to take a mid- 
dle ground. He could divide the dinner into 
two distinct parts, I told him, — what the Lord 
made and what the cook made, — and if he 
only ate what the Lord made, I felt sure it 
would be all right. 

The Lord certainly made the turkey, the 
raw oysters, the cranberries, the celery, the 
vegetables, and the fruit. 

'The cook made the stuffing, the gravies, 
the entrees, and the pies. 

The Lord's share appealed to me as thor- 
oughly digestible as well as unworldly. I was 
not sure but that if we divided all our meals 
that way we would fatten just the way the 
Jewish captives did on the pulse. 

The evangelist did not purpose coming to 
the table at all, but I prevailed upon him to 
do so. If his conscience forbade his observing 



150 THE PARSON'S BUTTERFLY 

the feast himself that was no reason, I assured 
him, why he should be cut off from the pleas- 
ure of watching others observe it. He and 
Sandy looked on, but with a difference. Sandy 
knew he was going to be fed afterward, and 
the evangelist knew he was not. 



CHAPTER VII 

IT was in March that the evangeHst was to 
come again, and it seemed as if his com- 
ing cast its long shadow before over the whole 
winter. It was as though a day had been set 
for the judgment, and we were all working 
up an inclined plane toward the solemn event, 
and as though the plane were full of spikes 
all going the wrong way. 

As for Teddy, he reminded me in those 
serious preparatory days of an Alpine guide 
with a rope around his waist, and all his peo- 
ple clambering and slipping along at the other 
end of it. At least, if they had been they could 
not have dragged upon him more heavily than 
they did. He grew thin and haggard with the 
fear that he might make a misstep or in some 
way fail of leading them into the upper re- 
gions. 

When he could not pull the people forward 
as fast as they ought to come, he felt surely 
the trouble must be with him. He conse- 



152 THE PARSON'S BUTTERFLY 

crated himself over and over again, dear fellow, 
till he got down to the bone, and there was 
really nothing consecratable left in him, and 
then he began to consecrate his consecrations. 

He abased himself in the pulpit, too, and 
told his people how bad he was. I expected 
nothing but they would rise up and tar and 
feather him for his enormities, he confessed 
so many. Fortunately, nobody believed him. 
When he came home I bade him never, so 
long as he lived, to let me hear him speak 
that way again. I was severe with him for 
the only time in all my life. I just had to be. 
If ministers' wives were not severe some- 
times nobody knows what might happen in 
the pulpit. 

Sandy had the misfortune to select one of 
those very gravest Sundays for coming to 
church and jumping into the pulpit before 
anybody knew what had happened. Teddy 
ordered him out very sternly, and then called 
for a moment of silent prayer to counteract 
his influence. Poor Sandy ! He marched 
down the aisle with his head high but with 
a very agony of shame and humiliation in his 



THE PARSON'S BUTTERFLY 153 

dog breast. I followed him out — everybody 
thought to take him home, but it was not; it 
was to tell him that he must not mind how 
Teddy spoke these days, for he was most 
troubled and burdened. 

The anniversary of Teddy's and my wed- 
ding day, and Christmas and New Years, 
passed by in the prevailing atmosphere like 
solemn milestones on life's journey. Father 
and mother were in the South over the holi- 
days, and John, and Hannah, and Bridget in 
the empty house were as those who dwell 
among tombs. On our anniversary Teddy 
gave me, among other things, a charmingly 
bound volume of Thomas a Kempis; and on 
the flyleaf was written: ^^To my darling wife, 
with the prayers of her husband, Theodore 
McFarland." It was sweet of Teddy, and I 
felt very grateful, but I also felt that things 
were coming my way very fast from a reli- 
gious standpoint. 

On Christmas Sister Green gave Teddy a 
pair of bright blue worsted mittens with green 
shellwork at the top. Now, said I within 
myself, will I know whether this saintly man 



154 THE PARSON'S BUTTERFLY 

is wholly good or whether he is human^ by 
whether he wears those mittens. He did 
wear them, but it was to prayer-meetings on 
moonless nights. Hence I concluded that he 
was a little of both. 

During the week of prayer a house-to- 
house visitation was instituted to gain an ac- 
curate idea of the spiritual condition of every 
household. Nobody asked me to assist in it, 
and I was glad; I should only have scored 
another failure. I went, instead, to the House 
of Mercy, as I had been doing all winter, to 
see the poor sick people. These visits to the 
hospital came to be the nearest approach to 
cheerfulness that I had. 

I would not have taken things to heart so 
deeply, I feel sure, if the parsonage had only 
been more cheery. It seemed to grow more 
dreary every day. Then, too, I had endless 
worries with my maids. At length, in des- 
peration, I took two sisters, a farmer's daugh- 
ters. They were indefatigable, thorough work- 
ers, if given full jurisdiction. I simply let 
them loose and then kept out from under 
their heels as well as I could. 



THE PARSON'S BUTTERFLY 155 

Really they were invaluable, save in one 
particular: they belonged to the Salvation 
Army. They called Teddy Lieutenant, and 
me Sergeant, McFarland, and no power on 
earth — short of dismissal, which they knew 
I was not so circumstanced as to be able to 
exercise — was sufficient to make them de- 
sist. 

The second girl, as I had learned to call a 
waitress, had a powerful soprano voice, and 
could not, short of the same penalty, be made 
to believe that the unabashed use of it about 
her bed-making and her other duties was 
neither customary nor agreeable. Her choice 
of tunes, moreover, was melancholy in the ex- 
treme. 

''Now comes that bitter cry — 
Almost, not quite/' 

was her favorite. 

That refrain would travel upstairs like a 
person and make its way straight to my little 
sitting-room. Sandy would lift up his head 
and howl. That would make another ^^ bitter 
cry'' right on top of the first one. I tied a rib- 
bon good and tight around Sandy's jaws every 



156 THE PARSON'S BUTTERFLY 

time he did it, until he learned that he must 
not. I did so wish I could tie a ribbon around 
the maid's jaws also. She used to plead that 
she forgot herself. The ribbon would have 
helped her not to. 

After the evangelist really came everything 
was worse yet. We heard in February that 
he had been attacked with the grip. But he 
recovered quickly. Nevertheless, his labors 
among us were tinged with the nameless de- 
pression that so often follows that treacherous 
ailment. There were two and three meetings 
everyday, and at every one of them the evan- 
gelist dispensed the terrors of the law. 

One evening I went with Teddy to hear 
him. It was a union service in a big, vaulted, 
barren church. The gas was poor and burned 
low and weird, and it was very dark in the 
corners under the galleries. The evangelist 
tossed his arms like a tree in a storm as he 
poured forth his wailing denunciations of sin- 
ners and of sin. One thing he said, I remember, 
was that God sometimes threw coffins athwart 
the road to damnation. I held my own hand 
under my muff, I was so frightened, and then 



THE PARSON'S BUTTERFLY 157 

I ran all the way home^ with Teddy taking 
big strides to keep up with me. I would have 
given all I possessed in the world if only I 
could have seen dear, cheery, peaceful little 
mother that night just long enough to tell her 
all about it. Mother would have understood. 
She would have remembered how, when I 
was a tiny little girl, I nearly went into spasms 
in church, I was so afraid of the minister's 
black sermon roll. She would know that it 
was not my sins nor God that were troubling 
me, but the same nameless dread of I did not 
know what — only I was bigger now. 

Teddy could not understand about it at all, 
for all that he tried to most gently and sweetly. 
I do suppose I ought to have gone and told 
God, but instead I just buried my head in 
Sandy's big furry neck and told him all about 
it. He was a part of the bright, sweet, gay life 
at home. That was why I loved Sandy like a 
human being, I think. 

Then it was so hard in the smaller meetings 
sometimes. The evangelist used to ask all 
sorts of personal questions, and you had to 
give public answers. He would ask every- 



158 THE PARSON'S BUTTERFLY 

body, for instance, who longed for the conver- 
sion of sinners to stand up. I knew I wanted 
everybody to go to heaven, but I knew I had 
n't the sort of load on my mind that the evan- 
gelist meant, and I had to be honest, no matter 
if Teddy divorced me. So the sinners and I 
would all remain seated. 

I hope I never will be called upon to go 
to the stake, but I would ever so much rather 
than to sit still again on that front seat with 
Teddy looking away from me because he did 
not want me to see the lonely, hurt look on 
his face. That was the worst of it — it made 
Teddy feel that he stood alone. 

I used to think it was as bad as it could 
be at boarding-school when madame would 
probe in public into the condition of our ward- 
robes. Madame would request all the school 
to rise. Then she would say, " Will all those 
whose wardrobes are in perfect order sit 
down?'' Three parts of the school would 
plump down without further ado. Then ma- 
dame, warming to the occasion, would say, 
"Will all those who have only one article of 
apparel in disorder sit down?" Several more 



THE PARSON'S BUTTERFLY 159 

would do so. Then would madame ride rough- 
shod over us delinquents. ^^All those who 
have two articles in disorder/' she would say 
— then three, f our, five, up to ten. Then when 
I alone remained standing, for I never had the 
ghost of an idea how many buttons were miss- 
ing, madame would say very impressively and 
slowly : " If there is any lady in the room who 
has an indefinite number of articles in disorder 
let her also be seated." As much as to say: 
"But that the quality of my mercy is not 
strained, she should stand on and on forever, 
till she wore a hole through the floor and 
dropped through into the cellar." What made 
it all the harder was that I knew that lots of 
the girls who sat down at the very first invi- 
tation were all pinned together with shield- 
pins. 

I even came to wish that I could go to sleep 
in prayer-meeting the way I did at first, but 
the nervous strain was too great. Sister Peters 
would have waked me up if I had. Since the 
evangelist came the good woman had devel- 
oped a habit of hurling imprecatory texts like 
bomb-shells into the midst of the services. 



i6o THE PARSON'S BUTTERFLY 

Teddy would request perhaps a moment of 
silent prayer^ and the hush of it would still be 
upon the meeting, when in a high-pitched 
voice, without the slightest preface or warn- 
ing, Sister Peters would cry out, " Cuss ye, 
Meraz! Cuss ye bitterly! ''and nothing further. 
Or perhaps at another time, ^^ Without are 
dogs! Without are sorcerers!'' leaving us to 
make what application we could of the state- 
ment. 

After the service any who wished for per- 
sonal conversation would be asked to remain, 
and I always stayed; partly because I wanted 
to wait for Teddy, and partly because I thought 
if any one were willing to talk to me perhaps 
it would be the very thing I needed. 

Every word that our dear old rector — the 
one with the nose — had said to me when I 
was confirmed was graven on my heart, and I 
always did exactly what he told me to. I really 
think I would have stretched a point and stood 
up that time if it had not been for his passion 
for " the white light of truth." 

What made it so much harder that time was 
because a sister who rose up — even before 



THE PARSON'S BUTTERFLY i6i 

she knew what the evangelist was going to 
ask, she was so sure she was all right from 
every standpoint — had stayed at home three 
Sundays from church, and had made her hus- 
band stay at home as well, to see if Teddy 
would miss them. I thought that she must 
have the biggest kind of a shield-pin in her 
soul to do a thing like that. But our rector at 
home had told me that I must always act just 
as though I were all alone in the world with 
God, and I knew I had to. 

Nobody ever did labor with me at the after- 
meetings because I was the clergyman's wife 
— nobody except one dear old clergyman 
from the next town who had never seen me. 
He came up and laid his hand on my head 
and said, ^^ Little girl, are you a Christian?" 
I told him I did hope so, because I was the 
minister's wife, but I was not sure. We had 
a lovely talk together, and I told him all about 
it, and he told me not to worry any more. 
He was quite sure I was. Then after a pause 
he added gently, as if to himself, " God has 
all sorts of Christians.'' 

I am afraid I was decidedly relieved when 



1 62 THE PARSON'S BUTTERFLY 

I was obliged to stay at home for a time be- 
cause I developed the grip — a severe case of 
it. Perhaps I took it from the evangelist. In 
any case, it left me even more depressed than 
it had left him. It showed me, however, how 
kind and sweet at heart Teddy's people were. 
My dear Deacon Potter stayed at home from 
several evening services to bear me company 
in the big, lonely house. He had been a coun- 
try lad, and he loved his old home and his old 
friends and surroundings with a love that was 
touching. It was like a pastoral to hear him 
tell of them. I liked nothing better than to 
start him on the subject and listen for an hour 
at a time. In the end I knew it all, and loved 
it all as well as he did. 

Once when Teddy left me for the evening 
service he said, as he bent over to kiss me: 
^^You will spend the time in prayer for us, 
will you not, dearest, even if you cannot go?'' 

I had not meant to spend the evening in 
prayer at all. Dear old Jack had heard that I 
was ill and he had sent me a box of the most 
charming books, the very latest, most-talked- 
of novels^ and a big box of candy — which 



THE PARSON'S BUTTERFLY 163 

was such good judgment of Jack, seeing I was 
ill. Between the books and the candy I was 
going to have a positively abandoned evening, 
as compared with my ordinary ones, and now 
Teddy wanted me to spend it praying. I tried 
very hard to do so. I said, " God bless Teddy,'^ 
and "God bless the meeting,'' and "God bless 
Teddy'' again, and after that, " God bless the 
meeting." That was really all I could think of 
to say. I could not seem to enlarge upon the 
subject in any way, even in the slightest. So 
I said " Amen," and gave it up. But I felt 
conscience-stricken all the time, and the candy 
gave me a relapse. 



CHAPTER VIII 

I WOULD not have minded anything, 
though — gi'ip? maids, services or evangel- 
ist — if only Teddy and I could have had our 
old lovely evening visits by the fire. We sat 
by the fire, to be sure, Teddy in the big Turk- 
ish chair and I on the arm just the same, and 
I put on my daintiest tea-gowns, but Teddy 
was too preocccupied to notice them, and too 
burdened ever to laugh as he used to, no mat- 
ter how hard I tried to make him. I think, 
perhaps, I had grown dull and spiritless, and 
there was nothing to laugh at. He had lost all 
heart for the chafing-dish suppers, too. 

One evening when he was the gravest, he 
talked to me gently and wistfully about the help 
it would be to him if I only sympathized with 
him. Poor old Teddy! It was the first time 
he had ever spoken in that way, though often 
I had seen the longing in his face. He did not 
want me to work, he said; only to sympathize. 
He did not want me to bear the burden, 

/ 



THE PARSON'S BUTTERFLY 165 

heavy as it was, but just to stand by him, 
heart to heart, while he bore it. 

As for me, I felt that this was the begin- 
ning of the end. Teddy saw at last what I 
had seen all along: that I was a wretched, 
wretched failure. I did not cry — that is not 
my way: I was too miserable, anyway, to cry. 
I did not even tell Teddy I would try, for I 
knew there was no more try in me. I was 
spent with trying already. The Ethiopian and 
his skin, and the tiger and his spots, and I 
were all in one box together. We simply 
could not change. I kissed Teddy gently on 
his forehead, and left him sitting by the tire, 
and crept away to bed. Teddy thought, I 
know, that I was too bored with the whole sub- 
ject to answer him. He did not know that I 
saw him, but as I looked back from the door- 
way he was sitting with his head buried in his 
hands. 

He was to have an early breakfast the next 
morning and go to an ordination in another 
town. I was not sleeping when he went. I 
had not slept, but I let him think I had, be- 
cause I was so afraid that if he spoke to me 



1 66 THE PARSON'S BUTTERFLY 

very lovingly, the way he was sure to, I 
would cling to him in a passion of dry, hope- 
less grief. And what good would it do? I 
must face the hoplessness alone. If I had told 
Teddy then and there, he would have known 
my inmost heart, and so much would have 
been spared us both. 

I cannot bear to think of that day. The 
sky was black, just as it had been on my 
wedding morning, only there were no snow- 
flakes, nothing but the "feel '' of them in the 
air. It was cold — oh, so cold — in the house, 
with the chill that comes before a storm. I 
could not bear to poke and badger the fur- 
nace, because I knew it was just like me. Its 
worst was its best. The mud and water of the 
day before were frozen in the village street. 
The waitress sang at intervals about the " bit- 
ter cry," and I had no courage to reprove 
her. 

I tried to balance my accounts, for it was 
the day for them, but they would not come 
out even, and I felt sorry for them just as I 
had for the furnace. I thought they would if 
they could, and I would not worry them. 



THE PARSON'S BUTTERFLY 167 

Then I tried to regulate my pretty glass 
china-closet, and when I could not do that, 
but took the cups up and set them down 
again in the same places, I gave up and 
waited listlessly with my hands in my lap 
until it should be time for the midday serv- 
ice. I did not often go to it, but to-day I 
felt that I must do everything — everything 
for Teddy and his church that I possibly 
could. 

The evangelist led the meeting, and the 
subject was ^^The flesh pots of Egypt'' — 
how people grew tired and discouraged, and 
said they would go back to the flesh pots and 
try no more. It was a dread statement of 
dread facts, like all the evangelist's eff'orts, 
and it seemed to fasten itself upon my brain. 
" The Flesh Pots of Egypt ! The Flesh Pots 
of Egypt! " ran through my mind like a re- 
frain. My flesh pots were, I was sure, the old 
gay life, and my dear little room at home, and 
father and mother and Jack — though it was 
a queer name to give them, to be sure. Even 
John Sparks was a flesh pot, for he did not 
sing about ^^ bitter cries." He would have 



1 68 THE PARSON'S BUTTERFLY 

heard from father, and that right early, if 
he had. 

As I was coming out after the service a 
dear, good sister, who had been much moved 
by it, drew me aside into a corner and, taking 
my hand in hers, said lovingly and tenderly: 
" My dear child, forgive me if I do wrong. 
I would not hurt you willingly, but I think 
you hardly realize the drawback that it is 
to God's work, and to your husband's work 
among us just now, that 3'Ou do not take a 
more active part in it. I feel that God has 
laid it upon me to plead with you to lay your 
life down upon His altar beside your hus- 
band's. Oh, my dear child!" and here she 
forgot her prepared phrases and the tears 
rolled down her cheeks, ^^you might do so 
much good!" 

I looked at her vacantly with the cold per- 
spiration starting from every pore. Teddy 
had driven a sword right through my heart 
the night before, and now this good woman 
— for she was good, and true, and sweet, and 
I never bore her any grudge for the dreadful 
hurt — had given it a turn in the wound. 



THE PARSON'S BUTTERFLY 169 

She had the same grieved^ gentle look when 
she did it that Teddy had had. That look 
must go with dreadful hurts, I thought idly 
to myself, as people do think senseless things 
in the worst pain. 

I put up my face and she kissed me, for I 
was sure I would never see her again, and 
then I went away, just as I had from Teddy, 
without a word. She thought, with Teddy, 
that I had not cared. 

I wandered home somehow over the frozen 
ground under the black sky to the cold house. 
I sat down in the hall on the lowest of the 
long, steep flight of stairs, and Sand}' came 
and licked my hands and my face. My face 
was very hot, and my hands were as cold as 
the hands of the dead. 

So everybody knew what Teddy knew and 
I knew: that I was a stumbling-block and a 
hindrance to him and to God! If I were the 
great God I would not let such a tiny little 
mortal be a stumbling-block. I would step 
right over her without hurting her or minding 
her in the least. That is what I thought in my 
disordered brain. Of course, with Teddy it 



lyo THE PARSON'S BUTTERFLY 

was different. He could not step over me. I 
must get out of his way — I must go back to 
my flesh pots. I had not chosen to — God 
must remember that — but I just had to. 
There was no other way. 

I never remember very clearly what hap- 
pened the rest of that day. I only know that 
it seemed to grow colder and colder in the 
parsonage, and the sky to grow blacker and 
blacker, and to settle lower down, until I felt 
that unless I got away to mother it would 
draw its black folds around me and smother 
me. If I could only get to mother she would 
not let it. Mother would not let anybody hurt 
me. And all the time ^^The Flesh Pots of 
Egypt! The Flesh Pots of Egypt! '' rang in 
my ears a louder and louder refrain, until it 
was like the din of an orchestra. 

I remember holding Teddy's big storm- 
coat, that was in the hall, tight in my arms 
and saying good-bye to it and wondering that 
it did not say good-bye to me, and then think- 
ing that probably it did not care enough about 
me. 

Then I remember, when the ticket agent 



THE PARSON'S BUTTERFLY 171 

asked me where I was going, opening my 
mouth to say Egypt, and recalling just in time 
that it was not Egypt where mother used to 
live, and correcting myself. 

Then I remember the good, fatherly con- 
ductor on the train asking me, as he punched 
my ticket, if I had a mother where I was 
going, and his saying, " Thank God for that!" 

The next thing I remember is John Sparks 
crying out, ^^The Lord have mercy!" when 
he opened the door for me late at night. 

Then mother came rushing to me. It was 
the only time I ever knew mother to rush in 
all her gentle, placid life, and she said, " My 
child, where is your husband?" And I an- 
swered her that he had gone on to the Prom- 
ised Land, but I had turned back. I wanted 
the flesh pots. She was a flesh pot, if she did 
but know it, and father was another. Where 
was he? 

Mother looked at John Sparks in wild 
alarm for just a moment, and John Sparks, as 
white as his shirt bosom, — and that had al- 
ways to be very white indeed, — looked back 
at mother. 



172 THE PARSON'S BUTTERFLY 

Then mother took me up to my own room, 
and she and Hannah took off my wraps and 
laid me down on my own little bed with the 
pink coverlid, and Hannah cried out loud. 
Mother told her very sternly, for mother 
could be stern, to leave the room if she could 
not control herself. 

Then I shut my eyes and they thought I 
was asleep, and father came and stood over 
me and smoothed back my hair, and two big 
tears fell right down on my face, and he said, 
"You poor little wreck! You poor little 
wreck! '' 

And somebody gave one big sob out in the 
hall and then tore off and slammed a door. 
That was Jack, for he was at home. It was 
his vacation. 

They thought at first from what I had said 
about the Promised Land that Teddy was 
dead, but they telegraphed him on the 
strength of his not being. 

Father put " Forward instantly " at the end 
of the telegram, which seems to me to have 
been impractical if they suspected that he was 
dead. 



CHAPTER IX 

TEDDY came early the next morning after 
my arrival home; and when father saw 
how much worse his face looked than mine, 
he wrung his hand instead of being angry with 
him, the way he was going to be. 

I do not remember much more about the 
two or three weeks that followed than I do 
about how I came home. 

Bridget says ^^thim was lively times/' and 
I imagine she is about rio^ht. 

I know that mother's and father's and Ted- 
dy's faces when they were in the room seemed 
to be floating up against the ceiling, and their 
voices seemed to circle around and go out the 
window without reaching me. 

Then there were nurses galore, day nurses 
and night nurses, and when any one of them 
did anything nice for me, I called her a flesh 
pot. I could not get that last effort of the 
evangelist out of my head, and when they did 
more and more nice thing^s for me all the 



174 THE PARSON'S BUTTERFLY 

time, and I grew too weak to say the whole 
thing, I called them '^F. P.'' for short. 

There was one person in the room whom 
nobody saw but me. It was a great giant. 
He loomed over the head of my bed and he 
said his name was Pain. He looked exactly 
like the giant in ^^Jack and the Beanstalk/' 
and every little while he would take me up 
and wring me like a poor little cloth between 
his great knotty hands, and then lay me down 
again, and I begged them to kill him, and they 
said they could not, and then I begged them 
to kill me. It would not matter in the least if 
they did, because I was a bad minister's wife, 
and a bad minister's wife ought not to live 
anyway; only to please kill me themselves, 
and not let the giant kill me. And then Dr. 
Jones, old, fat, gruff Dr. Jones, said: ^^ Child! 
child! don't talk that way! I would die to 
save you." I was absolutely certain then that 
I was going to die, for such tenderness from 
Dr. Jones had all the significance of a fare- 
well. He and I had been at swords' points 
ever since I used to throw things at him in 
my crib. 



THE PARSON'S BUTTERFLY 175 

It was not much more festive outside my 
room in those days than in it, I imagine. 
Teddy and father and Jack smoked and 
smoked in the library, with John tiptoeing in 
so solemnly every little while to mend the fire 
that father's nerves would fly all to pieces and 
he would shout at him: ^^Man alive, rattle 
something, can't you? This is n't a funeral! " 

The tears ran down John Sparks's face in 
rivers while he was waiting at the solemn stag 
dinners of three, and he never once excused 
himself on the ground of the tank. 

All Bridget's grief went into her cooking. 
Jack says that if it only were not so trying in 
other ways, the best thing in the world for 
Bridget would be to keep somebody at the 
point of death in the house all the time. He 
would be willing to take his turn, fair and 
square, every time it came around. 

Then one day when I was very, very weak 
— oh, so weak! and wanted to go to sleep so 
much more than I ever wanted to in prayer- 
meeting, because this time I never wanted to 
wake up again, but to sleep on and on forever, 
just to turn over on the other side when the 



176 THE PARSON'S BUTTERFLY 

last great trump should sound and keep on 
sleeping — Teddy came and knelt down by 
me and put his arms around me and drew my 
head on to his shoulder, and I heard him say 
that if I died it must be there. Then he put 
his face down close to mine and he spoke to 
me very gently and quietly so that it might 
not tire me, and he told me that he under- 
stood it all now — all the brave struggle that 
I had made — and, if I loved him, to try to 
stay with him and let him make me happy. 
And if I did not love him any more, to pity 
him enough to stay. But if I must go, to re- 
member always, up in Heaven till he came, 
that he understood, and not to be lonely and 
afraid without him there, for he would come 
just as soon as he could. He never had stayed 
away from me a moment that he could help, 
and he would not now. 

I heard Teddy and I understood just enough 
to feel that it was very, very lovely to go to 
sleep happy — I had cried myself to sleep so 
often — and to wish that Teddy could be 
happy and go to sleep, too; and then I just 
could not keep awake any longer. I heard 



THE PARSON'S BUTTERFLY i77 

Teddy sobbing and I tried to keep awake, 
but I could not. 

I did not oversleep the last trump, the way 
I had wanted to, but I was very dull and 
senseless for ever so many days. 

Then one happy day the dullness lifted and 
I was rested and so hungry — and Teddy al- 
ways fed me. He would not let anybody else. 
He said the nurses were admirable women, 
but they had come to feel that they owned 
me, and it behooved him to show them that 
they did not. 

We had some lovely talks, Teddy and I, 
in those first days. I told Teddy all that was 
in my heart, way down to the very bottom of 
it. I told him that I could not help being glad 
to be alive again because I loved him so, but 
all the same I felt it was very wrong of me 
not to have died because I was in his way 
and in God's way, and I did not know how 
to get out of it unless it were to die. It looked 
as though God had really meant me to, and 
I had not been able to do it any more than I 
had been able to do anything else that I ought 
to have done. 



1 78 THE PARSON'S BUTTERFLY 

Teddy tried to stop me from talking like 
that. He asked me if I wanted to break his 
heart all over again. It was because, I sup- 
pose, he was so glad to have me back that he 
could not look at the matter in an unpreju- 
diced light, the way he would later when we 
came to real living again. 

I would not let Teddy stop me, though. I 
told him I had been thinking the matter all 
over, and that I felt the next best thing to 
having died would be, if he were willing, for 
me to stay at home with father and mother, 
and for him to go back to his church alone, 
without me to burden him. It would break 
my heart, I told him, into two pieces, but I 
would rather have it broken than to be in his 
way and God's. He could spend his vacations 
with us, and Christmas, and New Year's, and 
Washington's Birthday, and the Fourth of 
July, and — and Decoration Day, and I would 
think of him every minute between times and 
write him twice a day. 

Teddy laughed, a big, hearty laugh — and 
I so solemn. Then he said he would show me 
a very big reason why my place was at home 



THE PARSON'S BUTTERFLY 179 

with my husband. A very big one, but at the 
same time a very tiny one — the very tiniest 
thing, in fact, in the shape of a reason that 
he ever saw. Then my heart gave a great 
jump. 

There was something I had longed so many 
times to ask about, in the very little while 
since I stopped being too dull and sleepy to 
care, and I had not dared because I thought 
everybody's silence must mean that they had 
something to tell me that would break my 
heart, and I did not feel strong enough yet to 
have my heart broken. 

"Teddy," I said, "is it— is it—?'' and I 
could not say any more. 

Teddy said it was, and that if I would be very 
good and quiet he would go and get it. When 
Teddy came back he had a tiny little bundle 
in his big arms, and it had very long clothes, 
and Sandy was jumping all around him and 
standing up on his hind legs every other min- 
ute to see the bundle better, and Teddy said 
it was my bundle, my very own, and then he 
bent down and showed it to me. I think there 
must be something wrong with me, because 



i8o THE PARSON'S BUTTERFLY 

for just the first instant I was so much disap- 
pointed. 

^^ Teddy, take it away!'' I said. ^^ Please take 
it away! It looks like Sister Green!" 

It really did. Sister Green is just one in- 
determinate mass of plumpness without any 
features to speak of, and here was my own 
little baby, that I thought would be more 
beautiful than the angels, looking just that 
way. 

Teddy did not take it away; he laid it in 
my arms, and the mother-love came into my 
heart with a rush, and the mother-blindness 
with it, and from that moment on the baby 
was more than beautiful — it was nvunder" 
schon. 

Teddy looked down at the baby and me, 
and he said: ^^ My little girls! My little girls!" 
That was all, but his arm that he had around 
us both trembled very much. 

Then mother came in, and we cried over 
the bundle together, awfully happy tears, and 
mother said she was a far prettier baby than I 
ever thought of being, and I asked her who 
had said she was n't. Father came, and Jack, 



THE PARSON'S BUTTERFLY i8i 

and they blew their noses and wiped their 
eyes, and Jack asked Teddy which was which, 
as we appeared to him to be much of a much- 
ness. 

I know, of course, that people are hap- 
pier in Heaven than they are here. All the 
same, I cannot understand how it would be 
possible to be happier than Teddy and I 
were while I was getting strong enough for 
him to go back to his work. 

John Sparks was so daft over the baby that 
for once in his irreproachable life he neg- 
lected his work. The nurse would put her 
into his arms and he would hold her and 
walk with her by the hour at a time, his 
solid old nutmeg face as tender as the spring- 
time. 

John would have it that the baby looked 
like Teddy, although nobody else thought so 
at all, and when I said, " Good gracious, 
John! you would not have her six feet three 
when she grows up, and as broad as a church, 
would you? ''John begged pardon most im- 
pressively, but craved permission, all the 
same, to say that in his opinion she could not 



1 82 THE PARSON'S BUTTERFLY 

inherit too much of the Reverend Mr. McFar- 
land for her best good^ no matter how big she 
grew to be. 

Once mother found John laying the dinner- 
table with the baby on one arm, and he would 
have waited upon it in the same manner if 
she would have permitted. 

Sandy was never jealous of the baby for a 
moment. I thought that showed innate no- 
bility. So long as he had a ribbon on that 
matched the baby's he was all right. If I had 
ever forgotten his ribbon then I think he 
might have begun to reflect on the mutability 
of human affairs. 

Teddy went home first, and then by and by 
I was well enough to go. Teddy was not able 
to come for me, so mother went to take care 
of me on the way, and John Sparks went as 
courier and head nurse, and the nominal baby- 
tender went in charge of herself principally, 
for there was really nothing left for her to do. 
Teddy was tramping up and down the plat- 
form as the train drew up, and I never will 
forget his dear old face as he lifted us down. 

My Salvation Army domestics had the par- 



THE PARSON'S BUTTERFLY 183 

sonage in marvelous order for our coming. 
You could smell bar-soap the minute you 
opened the front door. The second girl, Rachel, 
made a place for herself in John's esteem at 
once by her unfeigned ecstasies over the baby. 
She almost lost it^ to be sure, the first time 
John heard her singing at her work. Never 
to my dying day shall I forget John's expres- 
sion. He opened his mouth and gasped several 
times like a fish. Then he said feebly, " Ma'am !" 
and gasped again, and tried to speak, and for 
very frozen horror gave it up and merely 
looked at me helplessly with his mouth ajar. 
He could not comprehend why my wrath 
hung fire. 

"Yes, John," I said, "I know it. She can't 
help it; she tries." 

John went away and sat down, and I think 
he felt for all the world like an anaconda that 
has swallowed something so big that it must 
work down slowly. 

I made John showman of the baby when the 
parishioners came in shoals at Teddy's invi- 
tation to view her. John magnified his office, 
and Sandy always stood on guard with one 



1 84 THE PARSON'S BUTTERFLY 

eye on the admiring parishioners and one on 
the baby lest they should, from sheer uncon- 
trollable envy, try to seize her and run. I think 
that Sandy felt that we were a greater success, 
he and I, at baby shows than we had been at 
deacons' tea-parties. 

It touched me greatly that the parishioners 
were so glad to see me as well as the baby. 
It almost seemed to me they were more glad. 
I want to cry when I think what they told 
mother about the way they felt that week when 
they thought Teddy was coming back without 
me. They were wrong in their calculations, 
although I did not tell them so. Teddy says he 
never should have come back without me. He 
should have gone as a missionary to the lepers, 
like Father Damien. 

Sister Green told mother that she lost twenty 
pounds while I was sick. If I had not been 
raised up just when I was she would have 
been a rack of bones. 

Even the evangelist was compassionate. He 
called a prayer-meeting just for me — only 
think of it! — to pray that I might get well, if 
it were for God's glory, and if not, that it might 



THE PARSON'S BUTTERFLY 185 

be well with my souL I think he was anxious, 
either way, the good man! 

John nearly had a fit the day Sister Green 
called. The nurse had put the baby way back 
in the corner of the sofa for a moment, where, 
in the natural order of events, no harm could 
possibly have befallen her, but Sister Green, 
coming in from out the light, did not see her, 
and was in the very act of sitting down upon 
her when John seized her around the waist, 
or part way around, and brought her up stand- 
ing and whirled her off to a safe distance be- 
fore she knew what had struck her. She was 
speechlessly indignant at first, but speechlessly 
grateful as soon as it was explained to her 
that she had been saved from the crime of in- 
fanticide. It was exactly as though John had 
been seized with a sudden mad impulse for a 
waltz and had singled out Sister Green for a 
partner. 

Sister Green brought a pair of socks in her 
pocket for the baby. They all brought socks. 
She had forty-six pairs in all. 

Deacon Potter loved the baby better than 
all the parishoners put together, because she 



1 86 THE PARSON'S BUTTERFLY 

reminded him of the baby daughter whom he 
had lost. He would sit with her in his arms 
for the longest time, and plan how, when she 
was old enough, we would take her up to his 
old home and there let her run among the 
daisies and the clover, and let her learn to 
love the things that his own little daughter 
would have loved if she had been spared. 



CHAPTER X 

JUST as soon as I was able to go to church 
again I did something that I had been 
thinking about all by myself ever since I came 
home. I did not tell Teddy I was going to, for 
I knew I had to, and since I was ill, Teddy 
had a consuming anxiety lest I should grow 
troubled again about the church in any way, 
and I was afraid that he would say something 
that would weaken me. 

What I did was to address the mothers' 
meeting without being asked to. I was a 
mother now with the best of them. Never- 
theless, I was horribly afraid, and at first my 
knees fairly wobbled under me. But very soon 
I forgot all about being frightened because 
what I had to say meant so much to me. I 
thanked them first for all their kindness and 
their sympathy. I thought, though I had 
thanked each one of them separately over and 
over again, that they would feel gratified to 
be thanked before each other that way. 



1 88 THE PARSON'S BUTTERFLY 

Then I jumped right into the middle of 
my subject. I told them I knew just as well 
as they did^ far, far better than they did, in 
fact, what a very poor minister's wife I was, 
and then I opened up my heart to them about 
it. Of course, not my very deepest heart, the 
way I had to Teddy, but all I could of it. I 
told them how hard I tried — harder than 
any of them knew — but that I had come to 
feel that I never could be any different from 
what I was. I thought I was like Undine. I 
had not found all my soul yet, and I was 
afraid I never would. 

Then I told them I would be so grateful to 
them — they could not think how grateful — 
if they would not take me for an example. I 
had been thinking about it a great deal, and 
I had come to ask them if they would be so 
kind as to take me for a warning instead. I 
thought perhaps I could do a great deal of 
good in that way. Or, if they did not think I 
would make even a good warning, would they 
please look upon me as the smallest, young- 
est sister in the church, and just let me trot 
on behind them, the way small sisters do, 



THE PARSON'S BUTTERFLY 189 

and keep up the best way I could. If only 
I felt I were not keeping anybody else back, 
I would be as happy as the day was long 
trailing along after them all that way. I had 
not meant to be selfish about coming back, 
but God had sent me. God had not seemed 
to be willing for me to die, though I would 
not have minded for myself at all if He had 
felt it were the only way to keep me from 
hurting other people. And now I could not 
see my way at all for the future unless they 
would take me just as I was, and love me, 
and help me, and be patient with me uhtil — 

Here I had to stop suddenly, for they were 
all hunting for their handkerchiefs and inci- 
dentally for their pockets. I had never made 
anybody cry willfully in all my life, and I 
did not want to begin by making a whole 
meeting cry. 

I thought I had hurt all their feelings, or 
else grieved them past ever atoning for, but 
they all came up about me and said the sweet- 
est things to me. They said they understood 
now perfectly. That was what Teddy had 
said, too, and they would rather have me for 



I90 THE PARSON'S BUTTERFLY 

a small sister than all the grown-up ministers' 
wives that ever were. 

And the sister who had been so brave that 
time and told me I was in God's way^ asked 
me, with her voice all broken with crying, if 
I would forgive her; she could never forgive 
herself; and I was so glad to be able to tell 
her that I had never had a thought of blame 
for her in my heart, not one. 

Then Sister Green waddled up and opened 
her two-feet-around arms, dear soul ! and 
folded me before them all in her capacious 
embrace, and I was supremely, blissfully 
happy, for all I was well-nigh smothered, for 
now I had Teddy, and I had the baby, and 
I had a whole churchful of lovely human 
friends, instead of immortal souls in petti- 
coats that I was decoying to their doom. 
That had been such a dreadful feeling. I did 
not know how dreadful until it rolled off me 
like Bunyan's pack and disappeared some- 
where in Sister Green's draperies. 

I flew home to Teddy as though I had 
wings. Teddy was in our little upstairs sit- 
ting-room, and I pulled him down on his 



THE PARSON'S BUTTERFLY 191 

knees right where he was. Teddy was be- 
wildered, to say the least, and I knelt down 
close beside him, and I thanked God then 
and there that I was not afraid any more to 
live, with His help, just my very own life, 
and not the life of anybody else. I never had 
prayed before anybody in my life, not even 
Teddy, but I could not help it that time. 

Teddy thought, I know, that from that time 
on I was going to be a preternaturally good 
woman. That evening, by way of undeceiv- 
ing him, I trimmed an exceedingly gay little 
bonnet, and when there was nobody but him 
to try it on to I did not hesitate on account 
of his ^^ cloth.'' I just tied it on to him with a 
shoestring because there was no other way to 
make it stay, and then I seized him without 
any warning — just the way John had seized 
Sister Green — and I made him waltz, in his 
high waistcoat and white tie, and the bonnet, 
all over the double sitting-room and into the 
front hall and up one side of the cold parlor 
and down the other. I could not help it any 
more than I could the praying. What is more, 
I think Teddy was immensely relieved. 



192 THE PARSON'S BUTTERFLY 

I thought that evening that I was as happy 
as I ever could be in this world, but I was 
mistaken. I get happier and happier all the 
time, and Teddy does, too. Infinitesimal Betty, 
as we call her when we have time, is no hap- 
pier than Teddy and I; she need not think it, 
but she says more about it. 

One thing that has helped on the happiness 
is that we have the most charming little home 
that ever was. Father built it for us. It is 
quaint and fascinating. There are big fire- 
places in every room, and there are window 
seats, and cozy corners, and hardwood floors. 
Our wedding gifts feel at home at last. 

The decorator wished to put hard finish on 
the store-closet, but I said, " No, no, and a 
thousand times no! '' He thought me a most 
vehement person, and he held on to the sides 
of his chair after that whenever he made the 
slightest suggestion. 

Instead of hard finish we have charming art 
papers with soft and dainty hangings that were 
made to go with them. Every room is a 
study in coloring. What is best of all is that 
the sun pours in through the latticed windows 



THE PARSON'S BUTTERFLY 193 

and covers everything with golden diamonds 
of light. 

I do not know, though, but there is some- 
thing better still, and that is the furnace. It is 
young and energetic, and it is so much easier 
to be good when one is warm. The only one 
who does not find it so is Sand}'. He grew 
such a thick coat in the old aviary days, that 
he goes about panting with his tongue hang- 
ing out whenever the thermometer gets above 
sixty, and that is every day. 

The Salvation Army maids are still with 
me, and since John Sparks bandied words 
with them and opened up their eyes to the 
distinction between hired help and trained 
service, they have strewn my path with roses. 

I have late dinner now. The cook has de- 
veloped delightful ideas about carr3'ing her 
religion into her daily life. " What the folks 
that I live with wants is what the Lord wants, 
I take it, so be it ain't waffles on Monday/' 
is the way she puts it. Every morning she' 
presents herself at my sitting-room door and 
stands at attention while I give her her 
" marching orders '' for the day. 



194 THE PARSON'S BUTTERFLY 

I dress for dinner, too, just as I used to at 
home, in my prettiest gowns, and if I have n't 
time to change before prayer-meeting, I put 
on a long, warm cloak over everything and 
go just as I am, and nobody is the wiser. 
Even if they did know that I went in an even- 
ing gown to prayer-meeting, as I sometimes 
have done, they would not make me unhappy 
about it. They are so lovely. Wh3',once when 
I had a spasm of dressing very plainly, be- 
cause I thought perhaps it was not kind of 
me to dress so much better than my elder 
sisters could, they waited upon Teddy singly 
and in pairs and begged him to have me go 
back to my old vanities because it depressed 
them to have me different. I thought that was 
the very sweetest thing on any church record. 

As for Rachel, the Salvation Army wait- 
ress, she makes no more mention of the ^^ bit- 
ter cry." Instead, at nightfall, with baby held 
fast in her motherly arms, she croons very 
soft and low: — 

" Bless Thy little lamb to-night ; 

Through the darkness be Thou near me, 
Keep me safe till morning light." 



THE PARSON'S BUTTERFLY 195 

Sandy, stretched in the firelight at her feet 
as she sings, is not lulled by the song. He 
growls and growls again as he pictures to 
himself what would happen in the darkness 
to anybody that meditated harm to his baby. 

Sandy is fast becoming an anatomical won- 
der in that he is growing wings. He lets baby 
stick evergreen prickers up his nose and 
merel}^ looks mildly aghast over the perform- 
ance as one who would say, " Can such things 
be in a Christian land?'' 

I try to share my lovely home with Teddy's 
people all I can. My elder sisters, any or all 
of them who feel like it, come in to afternoon 
tea with me once a week. I make it in my 
handsome teapot, with my handsomest open- 
work cover on the little mahogany table by 
the fire in the hall, for nothing is too good to 
do honor to Teddy's people. On the table I 
have a silver bonbon dish, and every sister 
who mentions church matters has to put a fine 
of a penny into it for the heathen in the town. 
I do that because it is the unecclesiastical 
side of them that I want to get near to. 

Very often an elder sister comes to see me 



196 THE PARSON'S BUTTERFLY 

between the tea afternoons. There is one cozy 
corner with a high crimson-Hned back and 
crimson pillows where I always put her if she 
looks worried. There is something about that 
corner that acts upon her like a confessional 
box and brings the worry out of her lips, 
especially if I hold her hand. I never can be 
wise to help her, but I can cry all day long, if 
she cries, and it helps a little, I think, to know 
somebody is sorry. 

For very happiness I can hardly bear to 
write it, but Teddy says that I help him every 
day he lives, because I know what sorrow and 
what joy are deep down in the hearts of every 
one of his people. I must not forget to say 
that I made my peace with the evangelist, too. 
He came to call upon me one afternoon. He 
kept his overshoes on, to Sandy's disappoint- 
ment. I put him in the nicest chair by the 
cheeriest fire, and gave him a cup of tea, and 
then I sat down on the opposite side of the fire 
and I had it out with him. We parted the best 
of friends. He was going to California to live 
and to labor, and he held my hand and told 
me he trusted he should meet me in Heaven, 



THE PARSON'S BUTTERFLY 197 

and I told him I should be there^ and to come 
if he could. 

Sometimes, for all I spoke so confidently to 
the evangelist about my future state, I do won- 
der what the Cherubim and the Seraphim, and 
the archangels and the prophets, and the mar- 
tyrs — with whom Teddy is sure to fraternize 
up in Heaven — will think of me. I do not let it 
worry me, though. Perhaps they will be nicer 
to me than my elder sisters have been. In any 
case, I think the dear Father would feel that 
Teddy and I could never be parted. 



MONSIEUR LE BEBE 



MONSIEUR LE BEBE 



MONSIEUR PLANCHE, the proprie- 
tor of a highly respectable pension on 
one of the Swiss lakes, sat in his office con- 
sidering a letter that lay open before him. The 
letter contained a request that he would re- 
ceive into his establishment a child of eighteen 
months and its nurse, an elderly, responsible 
woman. The request came from a former pen- 
sionnaire upon whose recommendation he 
could place perfect reliance. 

The child had never been strong, the letter 
stated, and it was hoped that the air of the 
mountains would build him up. Neither father 
nor mother would accompany him, for the sad 
and sufficient reason that neither of them was 
living. 

The obstacle that confronted monsieur, in 
answering the letter favorably, was that there 
existed a tacit understanding between him and 



202 MONSIEUR LE BEBE 

his clientele that no small children, to say 
nothing of babies, were to be received by him. 
He had never made a promise to that effect, 
nevertheless it was a plank in his platform. 

Gradually — because of it — the pension had 
become a favorite one with elderly women. It 
might, indeed, have passed muster as an old 
ladies' home, save for one clergyman — an ex- 
clergyman with a weak throat, who had taken 
up his residence there. He was, however, we 
grieve to state, a good deal of an old woman 
himself. 

It was a very unjust as well as sacrilegious 
person who said that there are three sexes in 
the world — men, women, and clergymen. 
Nevertheless, there are isolated cases that 
justify the aspersion, and it is to be feared that 
this particular clergyman was one of them. 

Had Monsieur Planche been as the average 
of pension proprietors, he would not have been 
in the slightest perplexity. All his temporal 
interests lay in refusing the application. But 
he was not as they. 

To begin with, as to his outer man, he was 
slight of build, with sparse gray hair, and a 



MONSIEUR LE BEBE 203 

gentle refinement of feature and manner that 
would not have done discredit to an earl. 

As to his inner man, he was shrewd of ob- 
servation and judgment, but simple and kindly 
to a degree. He was devout also. Every Sun- 
day he worshiped in the old cathedral on the 
hill, above the lake and the vineyards. 

It was, perhaps, because of these Sunda3's 
in the atmosphere of the cathedral that for a 
long time monsieur's conscience had been ill 
at ease about his vocation in life. One would 
think, on the face of the thing, that an old 
ladies' home, fairly and justly conducted, with 
never a candle charged that had not been 
burned, was about as innocent an occupation 
as a man could indulge in. 

Nevertheless, monsieur was troubled. And 
what troubled him was that, care for his old 
ladies as wisely and as kindly as he might, 
they invariably deteriorated morally upon his 
hands. Not that they grew bad and wild — far 
from it! They would not have known how to 
go to work to be bad and wild, even had they 
wanted to be. What they did do, in the care- 
free comfort with which he hedged them 



204 MONSIEUR LE BEBE 

about, was to grow narrow, selfish, small, and 
comfort-seeking in a thousand pett}^ ways for 
which it distressed him that he must feel him- 
self responsible. Exacting they were, more- 
over, and childishly conscious of imposition. 

One old lady had, for instance, onl}- the day 
before, deposed to putting a pin in the upper 
side of her mattress every morning, that she 
might know absolutely whether the maid had 
turned it over. 

Another had come to him possessed of the 
childish conviction that there were canned 
vegetables mixed with the fresh to make them 
go around. He could not disabuse her mind 
of the absurdity. 

The table conversation of his guests had, in- 
deed, degenerated into a discussion of each 
dish as it was set before them, its proper prep- 
aration, and its probable gastronomic effect. 
They had been well-bred women when they 
came to him, and there was no one to open 
their eyes to the depths to which they had 
sunk. The tenor of their conversation over 
their afternoon coffee in each other's rooms was 
even more to be deplored. They gossiped — 



MONSIEUR LE BfeBE 205 

how they gossiped ! — and backbit, too, it 
must be confessed. To such a pass, indeed, 
had matters come that no one of them felt 
safe except in open conclave with all the 
others, and even then they were on the alert 
for disparagement and innuendo. 

Monsieur felt dimly, though he could not 
have put it into words, that they were losing 
their grip on all the great worth-while things 
of existence — the things of which the cathe- 
dral spoke to him. They had no charities, no 
broad interests, no family duties and claims. 

Every year that they spent under his roof he 
saw the belittling of the original intention of 
their natures go on, and, in most instances, 
the years that they spent were many. Already 
two of them had so outstayed themselves that 
they had died upon his hands. Having no 
near friends or relatives, it had fallen to his 
share to oversee their last illnesses and to 
bury them tenderly and respectfully in the 
God's acre behind the cathedral. 

As far as he could foresee, it seemed prob- 
able that he would have, in the end, to bury 
the majority of the survivors. 



2o6 MONSIEUR LE BEBE 

It gave him a feeling of responsibility as to 
their fitness for the ordeal — or, more strictly 
speaking, for the existence which he, good 
Catholic that he was, believed in beyond the 
grave. Somehow, he could not imagine the 
angels in authority in the next world putting 
up with a great deal, at the old ladies' hands, 
that he had learned to put up with in this. His 
eyes twinkled under their gray lashes as he 
pictured to himself the Archangel Michael, for 
instance, trying to seat them on the heavenly 
benches to their satisfaction, so that no one of 
them should be in a draft and so that each 
should have the best view that was to be had 
of all that was going on. Unless every seat 
was a front seat, he saw great trouble in store 
for the Archangel Michael. 

They twinkled again when, at length, at 
the end of his deliberation, he took up his pen 
and, in his most precise, stilted English, with 
queer French crooks and pothooks to every 
letter, informed his correspondent that he felt 
himself honored in being able to comply with 
his request. 

Mrs. Abner Robinson, a well-to-do widow 



MONSIEUR LE BEBE 207 

of New England extraction^ was monsieur's 
most prominent pensionnaire. Madame Ro- 
ban-son he called her, with a strong accent 
on the second syllable. By reason of her 
wealth and a certain dignified force of exac- 
tion that some women have, the most coveted 
seat at the table was hers, as well as the 
corner-rooms on the first story commanding 
the best view of the lake and the mountains. 

Madame had chosen these rooms partly be- 
cause of the outlook and partly because of 
the quiet that she could secure to herself in 
them. 

Noise jarred upon her inexpressibly, and 
she had pampered herself in her sensitive- 
ness until it had become a mania. 

Once, indeed, in her earlier days, in Amer- 
ica, she had entered complaint against her 
neighbor's roosters — not because they had 
crowed at unearthly hours, but because she 
had kept awake expecting them to. 

She congratulated herself that, at length, 
in her beautiful, sunny corner-room in the 
Swiss pension, she had found a haven of 
silence. 



2o8 MONSIEUR LE BEBE 

On the one side she was separated from 
her neighbors by broad, deep linen-closets. 
On the other was the one man of the estab- 
lishment, the ex-clergyman. He did, to be 
sure, clear his weak windpipes every morn- 
ing, early, with most rasping, grating, wall- 
piercing persistency. But that demonstration 
over for the day, he might have been in a 
state of coma for all the noise that he made. 
Madame hugged herself hourly, she was so 
contented with him, and her satisfaction bade 
fair to be permanent. 

Her state of mind can be better imagined 
than described when the news descended 
upon her out of a clear sky that the clergy- 
man had been called back to his native heath 
of London by the death of a connection; that 
he would be absent for several months, and 
that in his absence his rooms would be oc- 
cupied by a child of eighteen months and its 
nurse. Really one feels sorry for her, even in 
thinking about it. 

Being a woman of action, she bearded mon- 
sieur in his ofBce at once. His very soul 
twinkled as he saw her coming. " There will 



MONSIEUR LE BEBE 209 

be doings/^ was the free translation of what 
he said to himself in French. His courtesy, 
however, was more courtly even than was 
customary with him. He was desolated to 
have caused madame, so valued a pension- 
naire, such inconvenience. If he had known, 
— but now the apartment had been definitely 
promised. The letter had stated that it must 
be upon the first story, and there was no 
other vacant. Monsieur le Bebe was already 
en route. He said '' Monsieur le Bebe,'' not 
simply "the baby" or "the child,'' from a 
whimsical respect for the fact that the little 
invalid was the male head of his family. Poor 
little soul! he was both head and foot, for 
he had not a single near living relative. If 
madame would like to change her room, tem- 
porarily, he continued, it should be done — no 
trouble would be too great. Perhaps, how- 
ever, if madame would wait, she might not find 
the inconvenience so great as she anticipated. 
Perhaps madame would find it advisable to 
consider the matter for a day or two. 

Madame did not change her room. Mon- 
sieur knew quite well that she would not. 



2IO MONSIEUR LE BEBE 

The clothes-press of the one of which she 
was in possession was altogether too commo- 
dious, and her bonnet-boxes fitted the upper 
shelf exactly. It would have been madness 
to change. 

Her state of mind, however, did not im- 
prove; it was only equalled by that of her 
companions, the other elderly women. Over 
their coffee-cups of an afternoon, they grew 
quite red in the face, their heads shook and 
their hands trembled with nervous, impotent 
rage. They even spoke of migrating in a body 
to a pension a little farther back upon the hill, 
as a covey of partridges rises with a clack 
and a whir and settles down somewhere else. 
Each one knew in her heart of hearts that not 
for worlds would she, to use a homely old 
proverb, " bite off her own nose to spite her 
face " in such reckless fashion. Nevertheless, 
it did her a world of good to threaten. 

It goes without the saying that Monsieur 
le Bebe and his nurse, descending upon such 
a state of feeling, were boycotted from the 
first. 

Nobody can boycott like respectable women. 



MONSIEUR LE BEBE 211 

It was not to be expected, of course, that they 
should receive into their social bosom a North- 
country serving -woman; but they might at 
least have asked how her little charge had 
passed the night, and whether the air was 
agreeing with him. It was really not decently 
Christian of them not to. 

A month of the boycotting went past and 
Monsieur le Bebe disappointed all expecta- 
tions concerning him. He never turned night 
into day for his hostile neighbors. Madame, 
kept awake as she had been in the matter of 
the roosters, by her anticipation of what he 
would do, was forced to admit that he did 
nothing. If possible, he was quieter even than 
his predecessor the clergyman. His quiet, in 
fact, was unnatural, and would have been 
suggestively pitiful save that every heart was 
hardened against him. 

Then one day, in the midst of the boycot- 
ting, an idea transferred itself straight from 
the father of all evil into one of the old ladies' 
brains. The transfer was effected while she 
was mending her stockings. She was not, be 
it said in passing, mending them because of a 



212 MONSIEUR LE BEB6 

hole in them, or of a thin place even; merely 
because of a place that she feared might in 
time, if left to itself, become thin. If only old 
ladies' brains could shut down while they are 
mending prospective holes in their stockings, 
as factories shut down in dull seasons, so 
much mischief would be saved in the world! 

"Of course, of course!'' this particular old 
lady exclaimed excitedly to herself. Why had 
she never thought of it before? No wonder 
that child was superhumanly good! It was 
drugged, without a doubt, by its nurse, to 
keep it quiet and to save herself trouble. How 
had she — that is, the old lady — been so blind 
as not to see it before? How had they all 
been so blind? 

If she had suddenly had it revealed to her 
over her mending that the earth was an octa- 
gon, rather than a sphere, she could not have 
felt a greater impatience to divulge the secret. 

It was an unwritten law of the pension that 
morning calls from room to room were not 
to be expected before eleven. That gave time 
for any really arduous and unhandsome duties 
— such as clear-starching of neck-pieces and 



MONSIEUR LE BEBE 213 

pressing of handkerchiefs. One's heavy work 
it was always best to get out of the way while 
one was fresh. Rather than to burst, how- 
ever, it was better to break any number of 
laws. 

Within an hour the new and terrible sus- 
picion against the child's nurse had found its 
way into every room in the pension. Indigna- 
tion ran hio^h. What was not said ag^ainst the 
poor creature, over afternoon coffee that day, 
really was not worth the saying. In crusad- 
ing against her they almost forgot to cru- 
sade against the baby. The only way to make 
women of a certain order of mind stop hating 
any one person is to make them hate some 
one else enough more, to make up the sum 
total of the venom at their disposal. 

" Paregoric ! Paregoric ! " was the word 
that was tossed from mouth to mouth, over 
the coffee-cups, interspersed with such inter- 
jections as "The hard-hearted hussy! the 
jade! the Jezebel!" The old ladies were 
hardly reasonable, or stopped to look up the 
meaning of the language they used. 

Madame, dredging about in her memory 



214 MONSIEUR LE BEBE 

for parallel instances, called to mind a woman 
whom she had known who had been a pare- 
goric drunkard. She drank a pint a day. From 
every fold of her garments, meantime, there 
exuded a mild, all-pervading, half-tangible 
odor of the drug. The old ladies had not no- 
ticed this odor about the child, as yet, but it 
would not be their fault, now, if they did not. 
From that time on, fired by the detective 
instinct that is so strong in all of us, instead 
of passing by on the other side when they 
met him with his nurse, they passed as near 
to them as they could, and lingered — and 
sniffed for paregoric. 

Not a trace nor a whiff of it, nor of any 
other drug, could they detect; their scandal- 
ous theory was, of necessity, abandoned. The 
old lady who was responsible for it fell down, 
with a resounding bang, from the pedestal 
upon which her astuteness had placed her. 

What did greet their nostrils, in place of the 
paregoric, was the sweetest odor imaginable, 
of fresh linen and of dainty soaps and baby- 
powders — such an odor as every mother 
knows when she kisses her baby, fresh from 



MONSIEUR LE BEBE 215 

his bath^ right in the nape of his neck, be- 
tween the down of his hair and the dimples 
under the frill of his gown. If Monsieur le Bebe 
had been what is called in nursery phrase- 
ology " a sour baby/' this tale would never 
have been written. 

As it was, drawn on by the seductive fra- 
grance, there was not a woman in the pension 
who did not, when she thought no one was 
watching her, stop the nurse with a civil word 
— civil, if not cordial, — and peering in under 
the laces of the parasol that shielded the little 
fellow, look long and searchingly at him. If 
each had been asked to describe her first im- 
pression of what she saw, she would have an- 
swered, in one word, ^'Eyes." Nothing but 
^^ eyes'' — gi'^at, wistful, pleading blue eyes, 
looking at her as though all the submissive, 
unresisting sorrow the world had ever known 
was pouring itself out through them. Then 
she would have borne witness that she became 
conscious of a little white wan face surround- 
ing the eyes, of curling yellow hair, and of a 
mouth that smiled up sweetly at her as she 
gazed, and that with the smile the look of 



21 6 MONSIEUR LE B^BE 

wistfulness changed to one of utterly irresist- 
ible childish friendliness and trust. 

Each woman who met this smile and this 
look went away with the consciousness brood- 
ing over her of a hundred sweet and womanly 
things of which she had lost sight in her be- 
littling, self-comforting life. 

Another month went by, after the confound- 
ing, in this fashion, of Monsieur le Bebe's en- 
emies. His carriage was seen no more on the 
quay by the lake; the old nurse never walked 
with him under the trees of the garden — the 
strange artificially pruned and stunted trees 
that made a matted, impervious shade over 
the garden walks. Instead, his little bed, dainty 
as everything else about him, was rolled out 
on to the balcony upon which his room opened. 
The cool, green-striped awnings were drawn; 
the little birds hopped about him; the sun, 
even, of a warm afternoon, stole by as gently 
as he could, seeming to call out as he did so: 
" If I could only set! If I could only set! Be- 
lieve me that I will as soon as I can! I am 
aiming for the highest peak on the mountain 
yonder and I shall get there soon. I do not 



MONSIEUR LE BEBE 217 

like to be disagreeable, but I cannot help my- 
self. It is a terrible thing to be of an all-con- 
suming majesty and of an accommodating dis- 
position as well.'' 

Monsieur le Bebe was growing rapidly 
worse. It was noised abroad in the pension 
that he was. The old ladies did not dare to 
be left alone with their consciences. A little, 
fatherless, motherless child, stricken with ill- 
ness, had come among them, and how had 
they treated him? How had they treated the 
woman who was carrying him in her strong 
arms over the rough places of illness and 
pain? 

A week went by. The August moon poured 
down one night in a flood of glory upon the 
lake, upon the arborlike trees of the garden, 
and upon the balconies. With it came a sub- 
tle restlessness upon the world. The birds 
called to each other from their nests; they 
were not sure if it were night or day. 

Madame, like the birds, was wakeful. Her 
conscience was disturbed. It troubled her 
more, even, than those of the other old ladies 
because there was more of her to trouble. 



21 8 MONSIEUR LE BEBE 

She was of a larger^ nobler make. That was 
what had given her her supremacy over them. 

From the neighboring room, as she lay 
waking, she could hear hushed and smothered 
sounds; some one moving gently about; now 
and then a tender crooning word. She knew 
that Monsieur le Bebe was waking also, and 
that the old nurse, weary as she must be unto 
death, was watching over him. 

Madame knew little of the care of babies. 
She had never had a child of her own. Her 
most intimate experience of them had come 
to her through her niece Eliza Marshall's 
twins, and there had been nothing in their 
short cometlike passage through this world of 
woe to aid her in the present emergency. 
They had been born, poor souls, weighing 
three pounds each, and had died of measles 
when they were six weeks old, weighing re- 
spectively a pound and a half. 

A sense of futility in their having been 
born at all had always hung over madame in 
her remembrance of them. 

Nevertheless, in spite of her inexperience, 
she felt, with a throb of genuine relief, that 



MONSIEUR LE BEBE 219 

here was a chance for atonement — she must 
do what she could. 

She rose and threw on the flannel double- 
gown that lay every night on exactly the same 
chair, at exactly the same distance from her 
hand. 

It was one of madame's maxims, confirmed 
by her rigid pension routine, always, upon re- 
tiring for the night, to leave her room in such 
perfect order that a doctor, called in suddenly, 
would not fall over anything. 

Another of her maxims, akin to this in its 
pessimistic grasp upon possibilities, was al- 
ways to dress for the street with a view to 
being brought home dead. Her grandmother, 
before her, had done so. 

After fastening her double-gown, madame 
stole out of her room and along the corridor, 
and knocked at Monsieur le Bebe's door. 
The old nurse opened it. 

'^You are alone," madame said to her. 
" You need help. May I help you ? " 

Every night after this the two women 
shared their watch. 

Farther and farther into the Valley of Death 



220 MONSIEUR LE BEBE 

poor little Monsieur le Bebe made his way — 
thicker and thicker the shadows grew about 
him; until suddenly, where they were black- 
est, as if affrighted by them, he turned him- 
self about and — once having turned — fairly 
scrambled back into the upper world of life 
and of health again. He would live — and not 
only live, but grow to be a man, a strong man 
in God's great sunshiny world. That was the 
verdict that was given one morning just as 
the wonderful Swiss day was breaking over 
the mountains. 

Madame's dainty breakfast — coffee and 
rolls and honey — was daintily spread that 
morning, as usual, by the open window of her 
sitting-room. She could see the mists that 
festooned the mountains and hung low over 
the quivering lake turning from snowy white 
to opal; but she could not eat, for very joy. 
The tears were streaming down her face. 

She rose and stood by the window. ^'This 
must be a new world/' she thought within 
herself, marvelling, a world that she had never 
seen — it must have been made in the night 
— a world in which there was no room for 



MONSIEUR LE BEBE 221 

littleness and all uncharitableness, but only 
room for love, and service of things smaller 
and weaker and more helpless than one's self 
— the love and service of a child. 

When Monsieur le Bebe was no longer 
even convalescent, but had grown as rosy 
and rugged as one of the little peasants on the 
hills, when the scales of the spectacled Ger- 
man apothecary in the village told fairy-tales 
of his increasing weight, madame announced 
her intention of returning to her ancestral 
home in America and of taking the child and 
his nurse with her. The bond between the 
three had grown too strong ever to be broken. 
Moreover, the little fellow was fatherless and 
motherless — friendless, too, save for the old 
nurse. Madame was childless and rich and 
alone. 

Desolation amounting to consternation fell 
upon the old ladies who were to be left be- 
hind. But madame was firm. If she was to 
answer, as his foster-mother, for Monsieur le 
Bebe's soul, here and hereafter, the soul of a 
man, the enervating, irresponsible ease of 
foreign living was not for her. She must go 



222 MONSIEUR LE BEBE 

back and put herself in touch with the life of 
her native land. 

When the day and the hour came for her 
to go, Monsieur Planche escorted her and 
her retinue to the railway station himself, a 
duty he was generally only too glad to leave 
to his porters. He was very foggy and misty 
about his kind old eyes as he bade them 
good-bye. 

After they had gone, he stood upon the 
empty platform watching the billows of 
smoke roll back from the engine of the re- 
ceding train. He realized for an instant that 
he had done a very foolish thing from a 
worldly standpoint. Only for an instant. As 
he took his way homeward through the mar- 
ket-place with its quaint pillared market- 
house, and through the narrow, clean, cobbled 
streets of the little town, he could have 
yoddled, fairly yoddled, in memory of his 
youth, he was so happy; for now his Sunday 
mornings in the cathedral would bring him 
peace — lasting, genial peace. His conscience 
was at ease. 




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